Send or receive e-transfers? You may be at risk of losing your money to fraud. Here are some ways to protect yourself.
A change in the way we pay for things
Many of us have grown comfortable with the ease and convenience of digital transactions. Gone are the days of needing to take out cash from the bank to buy what you need. While certain digital transactions offer protections, such as credit cards, others may not. Here’s what you need to know about e-transfer fraud.
E-transfer fraud: how it works
When you receive an e-transfer, it usually provides you with a text or email notification prompting you to answer a security question to deposit the money into your account. E-transfer fraud happens when fraudsters hack into your email account and intercept the transaction. They then redirect the money into their own accounts.
How to protect yourself
Keep your email secure.
This is the most important part. If your email is secure, the fraudsters won’t be able to hack into it and intercept e-transfers. Change your email password regularly and choose a password that is hard to crack.
Input information carefully.
Be careful with spelling and make sure you have the information entered correctly. You cannot cancel or reverse a transfer that has already been deposited.
Choose a security question that is difficult to guess.
This makes it harder for the fraudster to crack it. If you need to, share the answer with the recipient in a secure way (such as over the phone).
Avoid repurposing security questions.
Come up with unique security questions and answers for reach e-transfer.
Don’t include the answer in the security question.
If you are sending an e-transfer, don’t include the answer in the security question. This defeats the purpose.
Consider registering for e-transfer Autodeposit.
This feature deposits your money automatically. The transfer does not require a password and avoids email interception by fraudsters.
Speak to your bank about what protections exist.
Each financial institution is different. If you have specific questions about how to protect your e-transfer transactions, contact them directly.
Did we miss anything? What are your tips to protect yourself from e-transfer fraud?
What to do if you fall victim to e-transfer fraud
Report the incident to the bank and find out what your options are. Follow these steps from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, and ensure you report the issue to them as well.
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About Consumer Protection BC
We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.
8 thoughts on “Send e-transfers? Watch out for fraud”
“E-transfer fraud happens when fraudsters hack into your email account and intercept the transaction. They then redirect the money into their own accounts.“
That doesn’t make sense. Are we talking about as receiver or as sender? As receiver, the email address needs to be setup in advance to be associated with the receiver’s bank account. As sender, the email address needs to be exact and send money via the online banking portal. I’m not seeing any hole here except the possibly if the receiver is setting up their email account to receive e-transfer for the first time. Auto-deposit is more convenience than manual response to security question. I don’t see any opportunity to change the email address in the middle of the transaction. Unless the hacked email account are associated with the fraudster’s bank account. Okay, I see what you mean now… thanks for this heads up!
Hi Devin, thank you for leaving a comment! And yes you are right – the email address can get hacked and the money be transferred elsewhere. That’s why it’s important to keep your email secure.
Thank you for this. Just wondering if you can comment on e-Transfer requests. When I want somebody to send me money, I send them an e-Transfer request initiated from my bank account. Given that this avoids passwords and email mistakes, is it not safer?
Hi Peter, thank you for your question! It may be safer in the sense that the other party would not make a mistake on your email address etc. but there is still a possibility of your email account being hacked. It’s great to be able to avoid password usage but you can also do this by setting up auto-deposit. I hope this information is useful to you!
I am concerned as my daughter has received 3 requests to deposit 1200 dollars into her account. She refused twice because she did not know the person. finally the third time, she thought, ok fine, I will accept, maybe it was for a damage deposit..But it is weird, the security question was easy and no it was not for the damage deposit…Is this possibly a scam? By accepting this money has she opened herself up for some kind of theft or other thing? She did try to contact the person to say they had made a mistake but the email bounced back.
Hi Sandra, thanks for asking a question here. This does sound a little strange and your daughter may want to contact her bank directly. They may be able to give her some extra information such as the sender’s name. I hope she will be able to get some clarity from them.
Would it generally be safer to only accept a phone number as e transfer method and not giving email address. Someone is pretty eager in buying my tires and asking for full name and email address so he can etransfer the money.
Hi Mario, thank you for posting your question. I’m not 100% sure if a phone number is more secure than an email address but the buyer does not need to know your full name, so you do not need to provide it. Other than that, perhaps take security and safety measures such as checking the buyer’s rating (if available), arranging a pick up at a safe place with other people around and waiting to pass on the tires until you have checked that the money is in your bank account. Please know that there is no consumer protection when it comes to private sales so there is no recourse but you can certainly take some safety measures I mentioned above. If you have time, you can also sign up for auto-deposit so the e-transfer is more secure. I hope this info helps!