Don’t get blamed for debit card fraud

September 30 2007 by Ellen Roseman

In today’s column, I used an example of a debit card fraud victim was held liable for $2,500 in losses. His bank said he failed to report the theft of his wallet in a timely manner (he waited three hours to get a break from work) and didn’t safeguard his personal information number. The bank had no evidence to show he’d been sloppy with his PIN, but just assumed he had been. How else could the thieves have stolen his money?

You might think this is an unusual case. Not exactly. The Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments, which investigates complaints like this, came up with five similar cases from its files. You’ll find them below, along with tips on how to avoid getting into the same predicament.

It’s easy to be complacent, because credit card fraud doesn’t usually cost you money. There’s a $50 cap on liability, charged only in rare cases. Banks usually refund the amount stolen with a stolen credit card. But when dealing with debit card fraud, they take a harder line. You can lose everything in your bank account and more, depending on whether you have a line of credit attached to your card or not.

43 comments

  1. Doug Melville, OBSI

    Sep 30 2007

    Here are 5 scenarios taken from our OBSI files that have led to customer loss due to debit fraud. Our annual reports available on-line also have case synopses. Usually at least one each year over recent years involves a debit fraud case.

    Case #1: Client was moving with family and had van packed with family belongings. Debit and credit cards were kept in the front seat, together with some personal files. Personal files included slips with PIN numbers for the cards. Thieves broke into the van and stole the cards and files and had all the information they required to begin making withdrawals at nearby ABMs. Client discovered the break-in the next morning and recognized the cards were missing but did not realize the PINs had been taken as well. Client did not call the bank to report the cards stolen until later that day. In the meantime, fraudsters continued to make ABM withdrawals and cash purchases. Client was held responsible by the bank for the losses. Lessons for consumers from this case:

    – Keep your cards safe. Don’t leave them where they are easily taken.

    – Do not write down your PIN numbers.

    – If you do write them down or keep the PIN slips provided by the bank, do not keep those records in the same place as the cards where someone could have easy access to both.

    – If your cards are lost or stolen, report the loss to your bank immediately so they can block or cancel the card. This will prevent any more losses.

    Other consumer tips that would have made a difference in this case:

    – Keep photocopies of the cards in a safe place, with the 1-800 numbers to call in case of loss or theft.

    – Have daily limits on your debit cards for cash withdrawals and debit purchases that are only as large as you anticipate needing. Big daily limits give thieves more room to steal.

    – Don’t keep all your cards (debit and credit) together in one place. If you lose or have some of them stolen, you have other cards available to work with until the bank is able to investigate and replace the cards.

    Case #2: Client had his cards stolen from the jacket hung in his office along with his personal identification. Had chosen his month and year of birth as his PIN. Thief was therefore able to guess the PIN within the 3 tries available at an ABM before the card is disabled by the banking system. Thief stole large amount of money from the client’s account. Bank held client responsible for the loss. Lessons for consumers from this case:

    – Do not use numbers from your birthdate, home address or telephone number as your PIN. Fraudsters know to try these first. Under the code of conduct negotiated between the federal Government and the banks, using such numbers for your PIN could make you responsible for any losses.

    – Keep your daily limits at the level you need and no higher.

    – Many thefts occur in the workplace, so never leave your wallet or purse unattended where you work.

    Case #3: Client had his wallet taken with a large number of cards in it. Thief tried many different PIN combinations at an ABM until finally hitting upon the right one after eight tries. PIN was a simple combination like 1-2-3-4. Client had also used the same PIN for every card in his wallet. The choice of an easily guessed PIN, combined with the use of the same PIN for all cards, made it possble for the thief to discover the PIN through random attempts. This coupled with a failure to protect the cards from theft caused the bank to hold the client responsible for the loss. Lessons for consumers from this case:

    – Do not use an easily guessed PIN like 1-2-3-4 or 5-5-5-5.

    – Don’t use the same PIN for all of your cards. If you do, the compromise of one card will cause losses in all accounts.

    – Don’t keep all of your cards in one place.

    – Keep your cash withdrawal and purchase limits on your cards at the level you need and no higher.

    Case #4: Client met someone in a bar while on a business trip and, after a considerable number of drinks, left with them to return to a hotel room. On the way, the client stopped at an ABM to withdraw some cash. The other person was able to watch the PIN being entered. Later back at the hotel, the client’s wallet was taken by his “guest” and the debit card was used to make ABM withdrawals. Under the circumstances, the bank held the client responsible for the losses. Lessons for consumers from this case:

    – Alcohol consumption and payment cards don’t mix.

    – Be careful to not let anyone see you enter your PIN at an ABM or point-of-sale (POS) device in a store.

    – Protect your cards (and PINs) from strangers. Practice safe debit!

    Case #5: Client got a call from her bank concerning unusual transactions on her account. The charges were not hers. She cooperated with the bank investigator and signed the documents to claim the charges were not hers. After the bank confirmed the transactions were fraudulent, the bank reimbursed her or all of the amount lost. Lessons for consumers from this case:

    – Always check your monthly statements carefully (on-line more often if you can) and report to the bank any transactions that you feel are not yours.

    – Always ensure that your bank has a valid contact number for you so that you can be reached in case there is a problem with your account.

    – Cooperate with the bank’s investigation so they can verify the transactions were not yours and so they might catch the thief.

    – Know that your debit card might have been copied and the PIN seen or videotaped without you knowing it. Always be aware of the transactions going through your account so you can report a suspicious transaction.

    – Always cover your hand when entering your PIN at an ABM or point-of-sale (POS) device.

  2. BK

    Sep 30 2007

    I feel banks are not doing their part to keep us safe. The “PIN” system is obviously out of date.

    I am currently a college student, but I was working at Pearson Airport for about a year. Pearson used the PIN system untill about 6 months ago. Now they use IRIS and finger scans. This has become very affordable technology and would be easy to implement at banking institutions.

    So when you want to pull some cash out of the bank machine, you either scan your fingerprint, or your iris, to verify your identity. So far this system has been working very well from what I have seen at Pearson. I think banks are not doing their part to keep their customers safe.

  3. Joren

    Sep 30 2007

    BK, while I’ll agree that the banks are not doing enough (I know someone whose account was stolen from because someone behind her used some sort of device to “tap” into her account via the ATM after she left), the new system at Pearson is, as you may be aware, not without its problems.

    A friend of mine there has had to have her file redone several times because it was not working on a consistent basis. i.e. getting her in one door but not through the next – so it was leaving her locked/trapped in a secure area.

    Fortunately, she has to carry a radio, so help wasn’t that far off.

  4. KK

    Sep 30 2007

    Have I got a better story!

    Two to three years ago, our home in Ancaster (very good area) was broken into while we were sleeping. The next morning we did not notice anything until I went searching for my purse. In addition to having my purse stolen, my new debit card and the envelope with the new PIN number (which was sitting on my kitchen island) was stolen too. The burglars withdrew $1,000 dollars from a cash machine in Scarborough. After many phone calls to CIBC, they finally gave me a $100 credit.

  5. MH

    Sep 30 2007

    It would be be a great service if you could alert the public to how the elderly and handicapped can easily be defrauded by ‘caregivers’ who accompany them everywhere, including to bank machines.

    My mother was defrauded of thousands of dollars this way. Although it seems like common sense, my siblings who had Power of Attorney did not anticipate this, nor were they able to recover the money. (The caregiver did not use bank macinines with security cameras.)

    Although I myself would have anticipated this risk, the reality is that many adult children are reluctant to deny aging parents their desire for some financial independence, and they may be too trusting of caregivers, whom they do not monitor properly.

  6. JR

    Sep 30 2007

    In August, on a road trip with my 19-year-old son, we stopped at the Big Apple on the 401 near Cobourg for a bite. Running low on cash, I went to the private-label ATM (a beige plastic model of the sort you see in convenience stores and the like) next to the gift shop. I put in my TD Bank debit card and keyed in a request for $60. The machine whirred, spit out a receipt saying I got $60 — and no money.

    I jostled the machine some and a $20-bill half-slid out of the seam where the front cover connects to the machine. But despite repeated jostling, it was not yielding any more money.

    I called the 800-number on the machine, told them my story, and they said they’d get back to me. Within two days, they did call back–to say everything checked out normal on the machine so they would not refund my $40 (plus, adding insult to injury, the additional $1.50 “convenience” charge).

    They did, however, say that under Interac rules, I could ask my bank to do an “investigation” into the affair. I called TD the next day and they said this sort of thing happens regularly. It would take 15 business days, the person said, to complete the investigation and return the $40 to my account. It sounded nice and easy.

    When I hadn’t heard from the bank after three weeks, I called again. After some checking, the person advised that the “investigation” hadn’t turned anything up and so my request was “declined” (the actual word they used).

    A couple of things occurred to me and have led me to prepare to close my account with TD Bank:

    — If they can’t protect me from a $40 theft on my account, what are they going to do for me if ever there’s a big fraud like the one you described in today’s paper?

    — They won’t take the word of a faithful customer whose son witnessed the episode. In their “investigation,” they never called me to ask what happened or if I had a witness.

    I have been using ATMs since the 1980s, but almost always just the bank ones. I have avoided the plastic private ones but the one time I needed them, neither the machines, Interac or my own bank was there for me. I know $40 isn’t a lot of money. But it is mine, not theirs.

  7. Tom

    Sep 30 2007

    You missed one other piece of information. If you have a line of credit, you are vulnerable for that if your bank card gets stolen.

    Mine was a student line of credit that should not have been open any more. However, when my debit card was stolen, they gained access to that and got over a thousand dollars from there. They also grabbed my money, including overdraft, and then proceeded to try and commit fraud by putting an envelope in that said it had $1,300 in it, but didn’t. And I was treated as if I had done that. They eventually proved it wasn’t me.

    However, since going through this myself, I refuse to have a bank card anymore. They are too risky. I still haven’t fully financially recovered as I work in a call centre job and I am forced to pay back that line of credit and the overdraft while still paying all my bills.

    My PIN number was my friend’s phone number, which apparently was too easy to guess. If there is any advice to be given, it’s watch that bank card like it’s your life because there is a whole bunch of your information on it. And then you have to go through the aftermath with the bank and then our government services with health card and social security number. AGGGHHH That’s just another hell in itself.

  8. AS

    Sep 30 2007

    After reading your article about debit card fraud, I felt that I had to tell you my story. It’s been 14 years since this happened and I still can’t seem to forget about it.

    My car got broken into one Saturday night while I was out in downtown Toronto. When I realized that my credit card and bank card were stolen, I immediately called to cancel my credit card. I didn’t think it was necessary to notify my bank at the time about my debit card. I felt it was pointless for whomever took it to try to use it without my PIN. So, I felt that I was safe.

    When I went into TD on Monday morning to report my card stolen and get a new card, I was informed that someone had made fake deposits into my account and then withdrew the money immediately after making the deposit. They did this on Saturday night before midnight, right after midnight on Sunday, all day Sunday, and then again after midnight Monday morning. My daily limit at the time was $400, so they managed to deposit empty envelopes into different bank machines around Toronto totalling $1,200.

    An investigation was supposedly done by TD Bank, but to no avail. Two days later, they held me responsible to pay back that money. Being a customer with them for 10 years held no merit. Letters from my lawyer also didn’t work. I eventually had to give them back their money when I was the one who was victimized.

    How this person got my PIN is still somewhat of a mystery. I thought of everything. Maybe it was hidden somewhere in my purse and they found it, or it could have been someone from my work who knew where I’d be that night, or just a stranger who randomly inputed a 4-digit number that at the time was my birthdate. Whoever it was, they got away with it. The bank also told me that no cameras were used in these particular bank machines, which I found a little odd.

    Now years later, I hear about this happening to more and more people. I still wish I did something more about this, but I was young, upset, betrayed, and was told I could do nothing. If this happened to me today, I would fight it any way I could. I would refuse to pay back money to a bank that actually didn’t protect me or my finances. I still feel that they owe me that $1,200, not the other way around.

  9. Jamie

    Sep 30 2007

    Slightly different topic, the danger of using Certapay Interac email transfer. This summer I received a Certapay transfer for $200 for an eBay sale. Certapay states funds sent that way are non-reversible, maybe so, but it can sure cause a problem for the receiver.

    The person who sent funds to me and others claimed some time later they did not authorize those transfers (we believe they were the one attempting fraud). A fraud alert was attached to those transfers, which resulted in everyone who received funds having their bank accounts frozen.

    The banks of the others involved called their clients and quickly unfroze their accounts. My bank, TD Canada Trust, later admitted they had never bothered to call me. So I was quite surprised when I went to an ATM, almost a week after my account was frozen, and couldn’t withdraw $80. Despite being right at a branch I could enter, having had the account for 25 years and having over $8,000 in my account, they wouldn’t give me one cent of my own money, nor give me any information on what was going on. At one point, they declared my ATM card had been skimmed and there was fraudulent use. As this was Saturday, all they could do was tell me to go to a branch Monday. Their 1-800 regular and security lines said the same thing.

    I went to a branch Monday and they still refused to unfreeze my account. Finally on Tuesday, by phone, my account was unfrozen, with no explanation offered as to what went on and no apology offered. No response ever came to emails sent directly to both branch managers involved or to customer service. Only after I requested the contact info for the regional manager did someone call me back from the branch to apologize and say they would send me something (which turned out to be a $25 gift card for Harvey’s).

    After I sent an email to the regional VP, he called me back to apologize, but didn’t offer any explanation. No written response ever came from anyone. The only way I had a clue as to what went on was after I contacted someone who had received funds from the same person. He told me what he had heard from his bank.

    I wrote to the TD ombudsman and got a call from one of the managers offering $50 cash and somewhat of an admission their staff had screwed up, although she added some new bizarre excuses like the staff in the branches weren’t sure it was me, despite one having asked for a driver’s license, and the other having never asked for identification. I’m quite positive every single staff member I dealt with lied to me.

    It certainly was a great loss in confidence in how safe customers are at TD Canada Trust. Through no fault of your own, and unbeknownst to you, your entire chequing account can be frozen for a week. There’s not a thing you can do about it despite being in the branches in person twice, having dealt there for 25 years without problem, with the transaction that caused the problem having been only 2% of your balance and using a service billed as 100% non-reversible and risk-free to the receiver. Oh, and you get to have their staff speak to you like they are positive you are a criminal.

    I was lucky I didn’t have cheques bouncing while my account was frozen. It was only a severe inconvenience being left without a cent in cash despite having $8K in the bank. If the same thing had happened at other times, it would have been a real nightmare. I don’t accept Certapay transfers anymore.

  10. Tom

    Oct 2 2007

    Wow, seeing this all here, it just amazes me, especially when one person had the exact same experience I did with the thieves putting money in falsely and then trying to take it out. And I’m sorry for saying this, but the TD Bank has a continuing thread in this. I am a TD customer as well, but not for long.

    You feel so violated after this happens. People think it’s an inconvenience, but it’s more than that. You doubt yourself and especially when you’re treated like a suspect, instead of a victim.

  11. TN

    Oct 14 2007

    I had a situation to bring to your attention. I was watching TV with my 14-year-old daughter and her friend, when an infomercial came on for a product that I expressed interestin but decided not to pursue, believing the shipping charges would be too high.

    My daughter, however, thought the product was cool and went online to check out the shipping charges. She proceeded to order the product to get to the shipping charges. I allowed her to do it, foolishly believing that if she didn’t have my three-digit CVV code on the back of the card, the purchase would not go through.

    She entered the correct Mastercard number, having seen it on my statement, but when it came to the CVV she entered “111” (not the correct CVV) to get to the shipping information. The order process called for the purchase to be submitted before it revealed the shipping charges. By then, it was too late to back out from the purchase.

    Even then I thought that the purchase would be declined as it did not have the correct CVV. I was wrong. The authorization went through.

    When I contacted my bank, PC MasterCard, about the security features of online ordering, they advised me that it was up to the retailer to allow a purchase to go through and that not all retailers required a CVV.

    But when I contacted the retailer, they advised me that PC MasterCard did the authorization and allowed the charges to go through.

    I am very uncomfortable knowing that anyone who has my credit card number (but not my CVV) can make an online purchase. Who is in fact responsible for validating a purchase?

  12. KM

    Oct 14 2007

    Here’s an experience that made me wonder about my bank’s Visa security. I received a voice message at home informing me of a possible breached card. I returned the call and was asked, with some urgency, to call John Doe (can’t remember the name) ewith Scotiabank Visa security at a 1-800 number.

    When I called, I was surprised to find the man at the other end answered the phone personally without any switchboard verifying that I had reached Scotiabank Visa security. I talked to this agent, who asked me questions and would lead to my disclosing my credit card number and three-digit code on the back of the card.

    Then, it dawned on me. I didn’t know who this guy was. I told the agent (who I now know to be legitimate) and he suggested I could reach a known safe source by calling the 1-800 number that appears on my Visa card. I did so before revealing the three digits and any more of my card information and transaction history.

    Then, I followed up with management, which agreed there is a security flaw. It seems inexcusable to me that a bank would lull the public into the careless practice of calling back any old 1-800 number and talking directly to one of their John Does, providing information that reveals the important three-digit security number.

    By creating this loose security environment, they are, in my view, propagating future would-be con artists. I think they should give this flawed procedure immediate attention.

  13. AS

    Oct 14 2007

    Here’s an example of how a self-employed businessman can be set up with a false credit card.

    A man came to my booth at the Queen West Art Crawl last month and raved about the work. Said his boss wanted it for their software offices in Canadian Place and couldn’t pick it up, so asked him to get it.

    He talked about how the painting would be in the front area of their space by the staircase and 500 people would walk by it daily. He asked if I could help install it and perhaps let them take a picture of the artist by the painting. (In retrospect, he played me well…)

    He then offered to pay by Visa. I asked for ID as well. The Visa card looked 100% accurate (but now I would look for the numbers on the back that you mentioned in your article.)

    His driver’s license also looked completely legit.

    When I was trying to process the Visa the next day, it was denied: “Name did not match the number.” So, it was a fake card! Visa would not offer any other information or assistance. Nothing.

    Now i wish i knew what to look for on a card that these counterfeiters have trouble reproducing, so I would have a better chance at spotting a fake.

    It turns out his phone number was also a fake, as was the address and serial number on his driver’s license. I even drove to the address just like in the movies, but it didn’t exist! So, he was a pro.

    Needless to say, from here on in, when a painting is purchased I will make sure the card goes through first and I will deliver the painting at a later date. (My problem is that calling for verification of a card at an outdoor event like this is hard to do.)

    Nobody I spoke too has EVER heard of this being done to an artist before, but I bet I won’t be the last, especially now that it worked.

    I have since filed a report with police, but the chance of my getting the guy is less than good. I am out a $3,000 painting (he took it with him).

    I hate not trusting people…..but he’s instilled that in me now in spades!

  14. MW

    Oct 14 2007

    The Visa fraud department called me on a Sunday evening almost exactly a year ago and saidf my card had been cloned. The unusual transaction was a gas purchase.

    I thought it was a scam, but recognized it was legitimate because the caller knew all my transactions in the last two days and asked me to verify them.

    Toward the end of the call, I was asked to check that I still had the card and to provide the 3-digit number on the back. Even though I’ve heard many times that they never ask for it, they do!

    As an aside, the Visa fraud detection must be very sophisticated. In my case, the scammer used the fake card at a gas station once for about $20, but on the second attempt to buy gas it was rejected.

    What was unusual was that the gas purchase was an odd amount (I usually buy an even dollar amount), it was paid at the pump (I avoid doing so) and it was in Oakville (I live in Mississauga).

    I use my card for almost everything. Considering the number of transactions every month, I was very impressed they were able to identify fraud so quickly.

  15. GW

    Oct 14 2007

    I don’t think signing a credit card is very effective. I would prefer using the message, “ask for photo ID.”

    One, the retailer rarely takes the time to compare the signature on the back of the card to the signed sales receipt.

    Two, nmy guess is that most signatures can be forged easily enough with very little practice.

    The only way to prevent this from happening is for the retailer to ask for signed photo ID, such as a driver’s lecence, and for the cardholder not to sign the back of the credit card.

  16. anne deslauriers

    Jan 24 2008

    Hi Ellen, I’m getting ready to write a complaint letter to Onan for a faulty generator. After reading a bit of the archives I now feel inspired but would like to know if you have any tips for writing a successful letter.
    Thank you.

  17. Carlo Dimarco

    Feb 26 2008

    Well, in three hours he could have called TD bank hot line and reported. The customer is to be blamed for the 3-hour delay.

  18. Rose Clee

    Apr 8 2008

    If your debit card is stolen from your purse and fraudulent transactions are made, who is responsible?

    The incident happened to me on a Friday and I did not know until Saturday, when my bank was closed. I did phone and stop the card on Monday.

  19. Mandy Chan

    Apr 16 2008

    Never ever give anyone, not even your family, your PIN.

    I have truly suffereddddd for this and have learned a lesson, unfortunately, the HARD WAY!

  20. Mandy Chana

    Apr 16 2008

    My best friend of six years, who was like family, closer to me than family, on March 6th 2007 told me she was going to the bank and she was having some money problems. That night, she took my card and took out $1,000. Then the next day, she went to the bank and took out another 1 grand.

    That day, I was at work and i went on my lunch break. I couldn’t find my debit card and thought I must have left it at home when my co-worker told me if I wasn’t 100 percent sure where it was, I should notify the bank. I called the bank to cancel and was told I had taken out a grand this morning when I was at work and a grand last night. I was in COMPLETE SHOCK!

    At this time, I didn’t even think it was my best friend, so I went to the police station to file a police report — and she came with me, can you believe that! So for a month, my bank’s fraud company investigated and I admitted, “Yes, I have given my PIN out,” which was really stupid of me to do.

    So the day came to go to the police station to see who had taken my money. When I saw from the pictures it was my best friend, I completely fell apart. I was in shock and she had come with me too!!!

    She denies it to this day. And when she was charged, she went to court and said I had told her to take out money for me.

  21. Mandy Chana

    Apr 16 2008

    I don’t know how to get over this betrayal and being made out to be a fool in front of the judge and everyone because I had given her my PIN.

    Her boyfriend and family think it’s just a misunderstanding and that she never could do anything like that, even though she was caught on my bank’s surveillance cameras. She and her lawyer now came up with that ridiculous story that I told her to take out the money for me.

    What do I do to get over this major heartache and anger?:(

  22. Mandy Chana

    Apr 17 2008

    I would love for some tips please and thank you

  23. ann

    Jul 19 2008

    I am in desperate need of help. TD Canada Trust expects me to repay $1,500, claiming I committed fraud when I am the victim.

    I had been with TD for 4 years before this happened. I am a loyal customer and have always had my account in good standing.

    Well in November 2007, I lost my bank card or it was stolen (this is still a mystery to me), but when I went in to get a new one, I was informed that someone had cashed fake cheques through my account to the tune of about $1,600.

    I was utterly shocked and thought it was a mistakem because the cheques were from First Choice Auto and my cheques (as I do have a youth account) are always on hold for 5 days. Yet these cheques were cleared right away (error on the bank’s part).

    The teller assured me they would do an investigation and everything would be ok. However, I realized later that the money I had left in my account was taken from the bank. My account had been frozen and creditors were harrassing me daily, expecting me to pay this money back.

    I have called TD over a hundred times already but I just get the runaround. They did an investigation and denied my claim, stating that no one should know my PIN number. But i don’t know if anyone knew my PIN number or if TD made a big mistake that they expect me to pay for.

    I am still battling with them for help and the creditors are extremely rude and have even threatened me, saying “watch what is going to happen to you.” I cannot believe TD would treat me like this after years of being with them. Also, my family has so much money in their bank.

    I feel hurt and betrayed and my life is at a standstill. I don’t want to ruin my credit and this obviously has. I am starting college in September, a goal I have worked hard toward all my life, and I cannot afford to pay for TD’s mistake. I am at my wit’s end with this problem and I do not know what to do.

    Please somebody help me as I will be exremely grateful. I am only 19 and I don’t know much about this matter, so advice is greatly appreciated.

  24. Natalie

    Dec 28 2008

    I recently had someone go into my account and cash a blank envelope. BMO is trying to get me to pay for their mistake.

    I am to be blamed because the person had my PIN. I did not give to them, so just like the bank I am wondering how they obtained such information. How were they able to go into the bank and withdraw $959 from my account at my home branch — without even being asked for ID when I am always asked for ID?

    I am a single mother on a budget and I need to know what will happen. Will I get my money back?

  25. KH

    Jun 22 2009

    Ok so I recently checked my online bank statement and under the date for today was a charge amount (withdrawal) of $90.21 that I didnt not make. The withdrawal is under the heading of ‘IDP purchase’ to make it seem like I was the one who made the purchase but I didn’t because I know exactly what I spent money on today and that $90.21 is not something that I even think about spending on. I don’t know what to do….I’ll call RBC tomorrow morning and explain what I am saying here to them and I don’t know if they can help sort this out. Am I a victim of fraud? I was once, I guess it could happen again. I’ll admit I use my debit card a lot but I’m very careful with it and hiding my pin. It’s so weird how this happening though, I’m at a for explanation.

  26. Angela

    Jun 26 2009

    Very upset – Two weeks ago, I withdrew $40 from a CIBC ATM machine in a gas station by my house.

    When I got to work, I checked my online banking to pay some bills and noticed that the $40 I withdrew was actually shown as me withdrawing $400.

    I called my BMO bank and was told they would send a message to CIBC and that likely it would take 15 days. 15 Days!! Seriously – don’t these money machines get emptied every day?

    So anyway, I called them just today – and they said CIBC said they were not over $360 in their machines – so basically I’m out that money.

    I am so upset. In this time of recession – how can I just let this go?! I don’t know what to do. I can’t pay my rent…

    Why is the human race so dependent on computers?! Computer glitches happen every day. It’s basically my word against this damn machine.

  27. Didi

    Aug 17 2009

    I hope there are still readers on this page. I know it’s been a while since anyone posted – but am giving this a try anyway.

    My son is going through the same debit card fraud accusation from TD bank for $23,000!!! My son has been with the TD bank for 12 years and rarely had more than a $100 balance in his account.. and that balance was usually on his paydays.

    He’s been a student the past 18 months and hardly ever used his card because as he says: “Use it for what? No money is in the account! Just enough to keep it open.” And he always went to the bank to withdraw money on payday! Went inside I mean.

    So between paycheques, it seems someone deposited a $23,000 cheque into his account. The cheque went through. And $5,000 was used to buy merchandise before the original chequeholder made a claim about this $23,000 cheque being fraudulent.

    Not one PERSON from TD called my son to say something seemed wrong with his account… nor did they call to verify this extraordinary cheque being deposited. Not one call, but they did take his next paycheque, claiming fraud.

    My son made a police report and like most here, he believed his account manager when she told him it would get straightened out. She even opened another account for him while the investigation was going on, so he could deposit his paycheque and not worry about being left penniless!

    Same scenario. The account manager went on vacation and his new account was stripped of every penny!

    When asked how they had reached ‘his being guilty’ decision, there was no answer. It was supposed to be under investigation and yet the Bank made the decision on their own.
    I’ve been working on this on his behalf and am questioning very pertinent (in my opinion) suspicions that I believe someone inside the Bank is at fault and must be making a hell of a lot of money, stolen from TD account holders!!

    In my son’s case, I’ve discovered they didn’t even look at the police report he faxed to them.. They even claim they don’t have it. And have the nerve to suggest he start all over again after being told for 6 weeks – they’d fix this!

    Every bank has a responsibility to protect their customers’ security – and of course to call them if suspicious of anything.

    By the way, my account manager at the BMO told me having your PIN isn’t necessary to anyone who knows how to get into your account! So the “you were lax or irresponsible” bank response is bull!!

    I’m going to be doing a blog on this – and welcome all your comments. Am also going to be digging very, very deep to get to the bottom of this. That’s a promise!

  28. Natasha

    Sep 7 2009

    This Visa fraud happens many time too often! Usually things are not done by OUR banks to keep our information safe, but for some reason it is always blamed on the cardholders, instead of looking at the banks themselves.

    My boyfriend had a similar thing happen. He had over $8,000 taken from his Visa!

    We contacted TD Canada Trust, which told because it has been past 30 days/90 days they cannot do anything! Visa or bank Interac cards, shouldn’t you be contacted of suspicous activity?

    This Visa was used in Ontario, while my boyfriend was living in Newfoundland and he also used the card in Newfoundland. Within the same week and months and months to follow, this card was used day in, day out in Ontario for cash withdrawal, Nova Scotia for purchases in a store (needs) and Newfoundland, which was boyfriend was using!!

    All of this, within one week, would be considered suspicous activity. Shouldn’t they have stopped the card and or contacted him?

    He also had a TD Bank account, which he was using regularly in Newfoundland while his TD Visa was being used in Ontario!! Why should he be responsible for paying this amount of money back?

    He explained to TD Visa he did not understand how to read these statements. They told him he should have gotten someone who did undersatnd to explain it to him! But isn’t this what all Visa providers tell you not to do? Share your information?

    The Visa account number was on these statements, so by showing someone, this would be like giving someone your Visa???

  29. Billy Mays

    Sep 11 2009

    Wow… if I am noticing a common thread here it is that TD bank takes a pretty hard line with victims of debit card fraud.

    I am a CIBC customer personally, and as luck would have it, I just cancelled my debit card today and launched a fraud investigation, due to some charges on my account (from a different city than I live in, even though there are charges the same day from my city… you would think that the computer would recognize that it is impossible to travel 1000 km in one hour).

    I am hoping that CIBC treats me with a bit more respect than TD… and that I can get back the money that was stolen from me.

    My heart goes out to all you victims who have posted on this page… Maybe you can take consolation in the fact that the perpetrators will burn in hell for eternity?

  30. V K

    Jan 25 2010

    Someone took $500 from my CIBC banking card from my Line of Credit. I reported it and CIBC asked me to replace the banking card.

    After investigation, CIBC told me that they will not return money since they do not have evidence that someone copied the banking card.

    At that time I was working in a completely different part of the city but they did not want to take it into the consideration. I also have never withdrawn line of credit money from my banking card.

    They told me that they have video surveillance. They asked me to file a police report and, when police identified the thief, to file a small claims court action and hopefully get the money back from the same thief.

    I could not believe that CIBC treated me that way. I also used to work for CIBC.

    I will be pulling out all my money from CIBC and I will never get back to that bank again.

  31. Trace

    Feb 25 2010

    Bottom line – don’t accept no from the bank!!

    Unless the bank has evidence that you committed fraud (in which case they should close your account and report you to the police), they must reimburse your money!!

    Do not give the bank too much info. Don’t tell them anything about the pin you used. They would never know that your pin is your date of birth unless you disclose it to them. And don’t tell them that your pin was wriiten down. Give them the facts of the robbery and that’s it. It’s time that banks improved their technology so these thefts weren’t so attractive to criminals. Banks have to stop blaming their hard working clients for the acts of criminals.

    When banks decline your request, ask them who you can escalate this to. Also file a police report asap so there is evidence that you are treating this as a crime. Don’t wait for the bank to tell you to report it.

  32. Scrood

    Apr 13 2010

    Banks HAVE improved the technology, but unfortunately now believe it to be infallible. This means you WILL be blamed if your account is compromised.

    The technology has done nothing to reduce theft, but it protects the banks’ liability very well.

  33. ConsumerFraudLawyer

    Oct 20 2010

    If a U.S. consumer has been the victim of unauthorized charges to his/her debit card, he/she has a claim under the U.S. Federal Electronic Fund Transfer Act.

    It is a great statute that few people seem to be familiar with. It shifts the burden of proof for demonstrating that the charges were fraudulent to the the bank, and it imposes treble damages and attorney’s fees on banks that wrongfully refuse to credit consumers and/or conduct a proper investigation!

  34. darryl fry

    Feb 29 2012

    Well, all these stories sound familiar but mine is an especially good one.

    Around a year ago, a girlfriend of mine found out the pin for an account of mine i no longer use.

    She then wrote a total of 9 cheques to herself and deposited them into my bank account and took the money. Can you believe the Royal Bank of Canada deposited 9 third party cheques into my account over a 3 week period of time, at the same branch, totaling $8,000???

    They never froze my account after the first 2 or 3 came back as NSF. Oh no, they kept on depositing these cheques.

    About 2 months after it happened, I get a call from collections for the account and told them there had to be a mistake of some sort. Once i found out it was no mistake, i told them it was fraud and they said they would look into it.

    They repeatedly harrassed me for the money and i repeatedly said it was fraud and thought someone was investigating it.

    Well, here i am a year later. I got the cheques and had them confirmed fraudulent and the bank tells me I’m responsible for the whole thing because they find it hard to believe that I never gave her my pin number.

    Wow. Now I’m on the hook for over $10,000 since the account has interest and nsf charges. They wont do a single thing to help me, other than to say that i should charge her, then take her to small claims court, then get money from her to pay off the fraud. What??

    I’m not in breach of the cardholder agreement, I reported it was fraud in a timely manner, the cheques were confirmed fraudulent and i have to pay for it all?

    Where is the bank’s liability in putting 9 third party cheques through my account over a three week period? No bank would do that.

    My particular branch has a policy of no 3rd party cheques. The tellers never heard of it, since they did it 9 times.

    I am now totally stuck and it seems that RBC is not accepting any fault or responsibility for what they allowed to happen.

    I could understand one, even two cheques making it through, but 9 over a 3 week period? No one even called me about any of this from the bank either.

    They just let it get $8,000 overdrawn (which is appalling since I don’t have an overdraft) and go to collections. THEN I was notified of what was going on.

    I don’t know what i can do now. Laws are different in Canada than they are in the u.s. and all i can seem to find is a whole lot of legal info for the u.s.

  35. darryl fry

    Mar 22 2012

    Well, just a little update about what’s going on with me and my bank. They have launched ANOTHER fraud investigation.

    I really don’t think I’m getting my money back, but at least it’s been reported with credit bureau as fraud.

    If this sort of thing happens to you, you have to be vigilent with your bank and DO NOT accept no for an answer.

    Read up about your local laws. The bank will try to make you pay in every case. They will never accept that it was not you. You will have to fight tooth and nail to get them to accept their loss. Don’t give up.

    I have a lawyer now and things are moving along better. I have threatened my local branch to go to the media about this as well. I’m not going to stop or give up until I get it resolved. Thanks for reading.

  36. Jea

    Sep 20 2012

    On May 28, 2012 I went to the Leslie St. and York Mills branch of TD Bank and deposited thirteen, one hundred dollar bills ($1,300.00). The next day I received notice from TD Bank that I had deposited six hundred fifty ($650.00).
    *
    I went to TD Bank and asked if I could see the video since I am sure that they are mistaken. I was not able to see the video. I subsequently called the branch and asked to speak with the manager but was told he was busy and that he would return my call. The manager did not return my call.
    *
    On July 9th, 2012 I received a call from TD Customer Care and was told that the investigation revealed that I had only deposited $650 and not the $1300 I claim. I argued that that was not correct and that I know how exactly much I deposited (because this money was from my friend, when my friend gave the money, I counted 2 times), when deposited to the green machine, I counted it three times prior to making the deposit. I asked again to speak to the manager and again I was told that he is busy but would return my call. He did not return the call.
    *
    A few days later, around the end of June. I called the branch again and asked to see the video. I was now told that I require a letter from the TD Bank outlining the result of the investigation.
    *
    On July 2nd, 2012 I called the bank again and requested the letter outlining the result of the investigation and they said they would send it the next day.
    *
    On July 7th, 2012 I had not received the letter so I called and asked if they had sent the letter because I need to take it to the branch so I can see the video. They told me they sent a letter to me on July 3rd.
    *
    On July 12th, 2012 I had still not received the letter so I called again to ask if they had sent the letter and I was told that they sent it on July 9th, 2012.
    *
    On July 18th, 2012 I had still not received the letter so I called TD and was told by a manager there that a memo or some communication would be written so that I would not require a letter to go to the next step which presumably would be, viewing the video of the transaction.
    *
    After this phone call, I went Leslie St. & York Mills Rd TD Bank told the branch manager that I wanted to take the investigation to the next level. She gave me a brochure with an email address and told me I could write a letter of request.
    On July 25th, 2012, I sent a letter to the email address provided by the branch manager. I waited until August, 15th, 2012 but no one contacted me. I called TD about going to the next step of the investigation and they told me the case was closed. I asked the case closed should let me know, why did not inform me, please write a letter to me, I want a letter from your TD Bank.
    *
    On Aug 20th, I received *a letter from TD Bank. This is the only letter I received from TD about this matter and this letter is attached.
    *
    My goal is this:
    *
    -********* Simply let me see the video of the transaction. A few minutes of time and the matter will be resolved. I can’t understand what the problem is. If the bank is so confident in their claim that I deposited only $650 then the video will quickly reveal the truth *for all to see.
    *
    Unless they have something to hide, I don’t see any reason for them to refuse this request.

    My friend told me: do not go to court, because TD have a big group lawyers, it is difficult for me to win the case. But I am not afraid it. I want find out how can hundred dollar bills changed to fifty dollar bills and who stole the money.

    *
    *

  37. Cameron

    Mar 1 2013

    Seven weeks ago, I was approached by three men, beaten and robbed. They took my cell phone and my RBC debit card.

    They demanded my PIN and I gave them a fake one, hoping they’d just leave me alone. They were smarter than that.

    Two of them held me down, while the third guy ran to the nearest ABM and tried the PIN I had provided. When he came back with the information, they escalated the violence.

    I only had a couple hundred in my account, so I quickly gave up the real PIN, knowing that I wasn’t going to get out of this without serious injury unless I did.

    When the guy came back with some money, they took off. I called the card in stolen the next day.

    RBC said that yes, the account had been flagged due to suspicious looking transactions, such as the wrong PIN entered and three withdrawals of 80 dollars within a few minutes.

    I pointedly asked them if they had tried deposit fraud, and he told me that yes they had tried, but were not successful due to the account being flagged at that point. He said a new card would be in the mail within 10 days.

    So two weeks later, I called in to find out why I hadn’t seen my new card. The woman on the phone said I should go into a branch immediately.

    When I did, I was shown a statement that showed two different deposits of 600 dollars and withdrawals to match. So that flagged account was used the day I called it in as stolen! They defrauded me of about 1,000 dollars!

    When asked why I hadn’t called the police, I mentioned that I would’ve had they told me about the fraud! If it were only the 200 dollars, I never expected to get anything back and calling the cops seemed superfluous. I just wanted to get over the thing. But fraud is a very different thing.

    Anyway, seven weeks later, after opening a police file and co-operating in every way with the branch, the investigation is still yet to start!

    After reading all of these stories, I’m very concerned that if I don’t stay on them, I will end up on the hook for the 1,000 dollar fraud!

    I’m about to start a small business, and the last thing I need is a fraud case and a collections action hanging over my head when I go to open a business account!

    Can anyone help me?

  38. Wife

    Apr 24 2015

    I haven’t shared my story yet to anyone. I have been hiding the secret for 3 years.

    My husband started taking his paycheck and going to the casino. And came home with nothing. We were three months from our lease ending apartment and with no income coming in we kept getting eviction letters.

    I was in college at the time and we had two boys. I had gotten financial aid and that would help with the basics diapers and food. I had to and still do hide my money wherever I could.

    At the end of our lease we had to move out. No one would accept us because an addiction was on a record.

    We ended up moving into the parking lot of our church in a camper trailer with our kids. We were there for three months while my husband was working and I finished school. Still, my husband would come home with paycheck once in a while and I finally got a new job after I graduated.

    He moved into a hotel by my job, thinking that place away from the casino with the best thing. We pay $375 a week. Things were better when my husband got a job finally and had two incomes. Talked about just staying here until he found a place to live. He always told me the reason why he goes gambling is because he wants to double up and provide better things for us.

    After two months of rejection trying to get into a place even through income housing, he started to get into a depression and the ritual came back. He would say that his paycheck didn’t come yet, he only got so much on his paycheck and want to show me the pay stubs.

    I find out from family and friends he’s borrowing hundreds of dollars from them and promised he would pay them back and asking me when we can pay them back. Of course, I had no idea he was doing this so I covered up and tell them we will soon. I never wanted to tell family and friends of his problem.

    He got my bank account number and opened up a Google wallet account. I had to change my withdrawal balance alerts to $10, so I get notified every time a transaction is made. He was transferring hundred dollars here, hundred dollars there, from our account and deposit it into his Google wallet. He also made an account on the Walmart website and would buy gift cards with my account number and Western Union.

    Just the other day, I always had my debit card somewhere on me in my bra, pants pocket, but I left it in my purse. I fell asleep and didn’t know he left. I woke up in the morning the next day with an alert extending $10.

    When I looked on my bank account online, there were two transactions depositing into my account $100 and $50. I didn’t know where he got the checks from and started getting worried. When I asked him, he told me he was sorry. He made a steak and deposited two empty envelopes into my account and withdrew money. And of course, he wanted to go to the casino and double up.

    I knew what was going to happen. I was upset trying to get ready to go to work and take kids to day care. I told him he had to take care of it. I got off work early because I cannot think of an excuse to my employer. I said that he should talk to the bank, but they won’t give them information since he’s not on the account.

    So I called the number and spoke to the teller he talked to and they said he deposited two different empty envelopes, which was fraudulent. It put a red flag on my account.

    I thought that if I deposit the money he’s fraudulently put i, it may fix things. I borrowed $150 which he deposited from my mother-in-law and put that in the cash hoping that would fix everything. Well, it didn’t do anything.

    Talked to my branch manager and he said only person that can fix things for me or help me out is where I opened the account up. They were 45 minutes away, so I called them. The lady said that because of this mistake and depositing empty envelopes in the ATM, they had to close my account.

    I explained to her that my husband just made mistake because he was drunk. “I didn’t want anybody to know what my husband did. I was embarrassed.” I have deposit deposit going through at midnight from my employer and I have bills that I have automatic payments the next day.

    She told me that she will try to open up my account for the check deposit to go through and to see if there’s a way she can let me withdraw some cash to help pay with bills. She called me back and said that the deposit has been going through and I am able to pull out two thirds of my check. And I had to go to a certain bank to withdraw it.

    So I go to the bank she sent me to and the teller said she isn’t able to withdraw any money and she was trying to get hold of corporate. Waiting there for an hour trying to see what’s going to happen before I pick up the kids at day care, the manager pulled me into the office. He said that because of how the deposit was made and I withdrew money I didn’t have, I am red flag with check systems. I can’t withdraw any of my money, but deposit the check from my employer may not go through and they are closing my account for good.

    This all happened today. I’m sure it would be easy to say I know what to do, if it was someone else. I want to say I love my husband, but more so for the kids. Help!

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