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Online Banking

Cheque Fraud

Recognize rip-offs. Skewer scammers.

The best way to protect yourself from being conned is to be familiar with the types of frauds and scams out there. Here are a few to beware of.

Cheque fraud.

Cheques… remember those? Those rectangular pieces of paper can be used against you by someone who steals them and alters them without appropriate authority. They can also use false invoices to solicit legitimate cheques.  They often deposit a cheque into a third party account without authority.

How to protect yourself:

  • Keep all your cheques in a secure location when not in use.
  • Be careful when signing cheques.  Never sign blank cheques; only sign after all details have been completed. Leave no gaps in the completion of the payee name, amount in words and in figures. Avoid use of acronyms for payee names. Use permanent ballpoint or ink (preferably black). Limit the number of signatures to your account to ensure control. Ensure any spoiled cheques are destroyed.
  • Reconcile your accounts promptly and regularly.
  • For business accounts, separate the cheque writing/electronic payments and account reconciliation functions. Consider opening a separate account specifically for higher-value cheques, so they can be easily monitored. Consider implementing a 'two to sign' policy.

Lost cheques or suspect fraud?

If cheques are lost or stolen, contact us immediately and ask for a 'Stop Payment'. Notify us if you have not received an ordered cheque book. The same applies if you suspect cheque or any other type of fraud, or if you detect an irregularity in your account reconciliation.

Advance fee fraud.

Advance fee loans operating for a criminal purpose generate millions of dollars annually in Canada. Fraudsters posing as reputable financial companies advertise instant loans while Ponzi schemers offer high interest rates on investment opportunities. Both usually request an up-front fee. If you send your money to them, it is unlikely you will get your promised loan and your advance payment will be at risk.

Individuals with poor credit ratings are usually key targets for ‘easy money’ loan scams and once the 'loan processors' receive the money, they usually disappear. Unwary investors are the targets for Ponzi scams.

If you have doubts about any organization, contact the Better Business Bureau for further information.

Online Auction or Sales Fraud.

Online auction fraud includes fraud due to the misrepresentation of a product advertised for sale through an Internet auction or sales site, the non-delivery of an item purchased or a non-payment for goods purchased through an Internet auction site.

To steer clear of these situations, consider these tips:

  • Deal with companies or individuals you know by reputation or experience. If you aren't familiar with the company, do your research. Find out their address and phone number. Don't do business with a company that doesn't list a physical address or telephone number on its website.
  • Read the terms and conditions of the contract to make sure you understand the delivery options, return policy, and product or service warranty. For international transactions, ask for information about the exchange rate and any applicable duties and taxes.
  • Look for a privacy policy. Be sure that you are comfortable with how the company collects, protects, and uses your personal information before you submit any details. Responsible marketers have an "opt-out" policy, which allows you to choose whether your information is shared with third parties.
  • Ensure the business has a fair and clear process for submitting complaints and/or cancelling orders.
  • Make sure transactions are secure. Do not enter any financial information if you see a broken-key or open padlock symbol on your Internet browser. This means that the transaction is not secure and could be intercepted by a third party. When the key is complete or the padlock is locked, your browser is indicating a secure transaction.
  • Remember, e-mail messages are not private, unlike secure order forms on a Web site. Don't send confidential personal or financial information by e-mail.
  • Check for endorsement by an association or a quality assurance program. There are several "seals of approval" for Web sites that confirm the credibility of the company and the Web site. For example, the Canadian Marketing Association member logo signifies a company that abides by the CMA Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, which includes a comprehensive privacy policy and a section on responsible Internet marketing.
  • Avoid spam (unsolicited marketing e-mail) by being careful about disclosing your e-mail address both on and off-line. Check a company's privacy policy to find out whether your e-mail address could be shared with other companies. CMA members will not send you marketing e-mail without your permission and will give you the option to decline to receive further e-mails at any time.
  • Talk to your children about online activities. Instruct them to keep their personal information private unless you approve.

Find out more about e-mail and other scams.

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