$ 2,500 was stolen from his Interac account

Convenient, fast and simple, Interac transfer has established itself as a means of payment between people. But an anonymous function can be used by fraudsters to dip into your bank account. It happened to a couple who lost $ 2500. The bank refused to pay him.

Posted at 6:30 am

Christian and Marie-Andrée are happy to find a buyer for their car to sell on online platforms. At the end of the line, the young man looked serious, saying his name was Louis-Philippe. Seriously to the point of offering to pay an Interac deposit of $ 2500 to reserve the vehicle until he recovers it.

Why be careful?

While speaking, Louis-Philippe followed. Enter Interac email. It is in English. Marie-Andrée sees some names of financial institutions there, but not hers. Since the TD logo was there, and it was his wife’s bank, he forwarded the email to her to accept the funds.

It is simply written: Louis-Philippe ” send you a request for $ 2500 (CAD) “. Christian accepted the message without paying too much attention and immediately checked to see if the whole had actually been deposited into his account.

Surprise, $ 2500 was withdrawn instead!

“It took a minute before I realized something was wrong,” Christian told me. He jumped on his phone and dialed a TD number as his wife announced to the buyer of his car that he had made a mistake. “He replied that he couldn’t. At first, I was polite, I asked him to cancel it,” Marie-Andrée said.

Christian insisted he was talking to a swindler. He wants to cancel the money transfer. “I was told to wait to see if the funds would be returned. I was also told that if not, I could call and the bank could do something about it. »

While TD solemnly refused to block the transaction, the alleged buyer laughed before dropping his interlocutor.

Interac’s “Request Funds” function has been in circulation since 2017. But it remains unknown because, until now, only customers of three of Canada’s seven major banks could use it. They are Scotia, Royal and TD. Desjardins members have no more access to it than members of the National Bank, BMO, Laurentian and CIBC.

How is it that this function is not accessible at all? Interac told me that each bank makes its own choices. As for the fraud it may cause, Interac has little to say to me on the subject. The company recommends being “observant” and encourages people accepting a transfer or requesting money “to read the message carefully before acting on it and trust their instincts”.

Christian and Marie-Andrée realized that they could have read the message carefully. But it’s in English, and not very clear, they say. It is true that the choice of words can be more accurate. The financial consequences of a confusing turn of the phrase are significant.

  • Interac emailed a message for fund withdrawal requests in English

    SCREENSHOT THE PRESS

    Interac emailed a message for fund withdrawal requests in English

  • Interac emailed a message for fund withdrawal requests in English

    SCREENSHOT THE PRESS

    Interac emailed a message for fund withdrawal requests in English

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I passed the message received to an English speaker to see what he thought about it.

“Who do you think sends money?”

– That’s what I’m wondering! Marie-Andrée appears to have received the invoice, but there is a note stating that it was a payment. It doesn’t make sense. »

Since Christian is a TD customer, I asked him to go and take $ 1 out of my bank account. “Christian sent you a request for $ 1.00 (CAD)”. Not a withdrawal request. Not a request for payment. Just a request.

When we have been accepting Interac transfers for a decade and we don’t know that it is technically possible for someone to dip into our bank account, normally our “instinct”, to use the word Interac, is not triggered an alarm.

Because the banks offer a guarantee against fraud, Christian took steps with TD to get his $ 2,500 back. The Primary Complaint Review Office declined for two reasons: the customer confirmed that the transaction had been made and the bank did not make a mistake.

After sending six letters to different levels of the hierarchy, the couple should now turn to the Office of the Banking Ombudsman (ADRBO), a body that reviews complaints from customers of some banks as last way.


PHOTO OLIVIER JEAN, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

TD Bank is one of the three major banks in Canada (out of seven) to offer Interac’s Request Money feature.

“I want to end the exercise. I do it in principle. Banks are making billions in profits,” he said. “Imagine this happening to an adult. It seems that he is not allowed to ask for funds, ”added his girlfriend.

The couple also filed a complaint with police, who received a dozen complaints over four years for similar cases, and contacted the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center. This is how he found out that TD has a certain amount of time to block the transaction. Since then, he has wondered why he didn’t act on the spot.

TD Bank confirms that a “request for funds” can be canceled “if the transaction is pending”. However, “if the recipient activates the automatic deposit option in their account, the money will be deposited directly and will not be refunded,” spokeswoman Caroline Phemius wrote.

It’s practical, fast and simple … for scammers.

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