e-Transfer Scams and How to Avoid Them

By Remitbee - Apr 12, 2022

Money does not grow on trees; earning money takes hard work and time. But some would like to take the easy route by fraud and scams. Since online banking and online money transfers make it a lot easier for people to send and receive money, fraudsters use this to get money off people. Data shows that in 2018 alone, there's a total of over $132 billion Interac e-Transfer transactions. Sad to say, although multiple layers of security protect these transactions, they can still be susceptible to fraud.

To make sure that you won’t be the victim of fraudsters with e-Transfer scams, here are some of the scams you should be familiar with:

Rental Scam

Since there’s strong competition for residential properties for rent or sale in Canada, some fraudsters pose as landlords advertising apartments, homes, and condos available for rent for immediate occupancy. They often impose a rental fee below the average market value to lure more victims. Once a victim shows interest in the property, they must pay a security deposit via e-transfer though they haven’t signed any contract or seen the apartment. They pressure their victims to pay by saying that if they do not settle an amount as soon as possible, they might give the property to other interested renters. If you fall into this trap, they will keep your money and, in the end, you’ll find out that there’s no existing apartment you can rent.

How to avoid this scam: Do not simply give out money without signing a contract or being on the property to examine it. If something is too good to be true, even if it is your dream home, it is better not to send any money.

Buyer/Seller Scam

Since marketplace websites such as Facebook, Craigslist, and Kijiji are popular, fraudsters often lurk here pretending to be sellers or buyers to get money or products of high value.

Seller scammers will get the payment from you and promise to deliver the products they will sell to you, only to find out that they have stolen your money and you receive nothing in return.

Buyer scammers will tell you that they will only transfer their payment once they have received the product or service you are selling. However, once you’ve sent them what you’re offering, they will block you so that you cannot retrieve your product anymore.

How to avoid this scam: Don’t agree to buy or sell something quickly. It is best to refer to the rating of the buyer or seller you want to transact with. Don’t transact with “buyers” or “sellers” who are rude, demanding, or unresponsive.

Intercepted e-Transfer Scam

e-Transfer such as Interac e-Transfer can be intercepted and diverted to another bank account instead of reaching the intended recipient. Fraudsters do this by accessing the recipients' text messages or email accounts to which the fund will be sent and then diverting them to another account. They can also steal your banking details, passwords, and other financial information.

How to avoid this scam: Make sure that once you send money, your recipient receives it immediately; if not, you could be a victim of this scam. If they tell you that they cannot collect the funds because they have already been received, that’s another telltale sign you’ve been scammed. To avoid this, don’t give any security answer via email or text message and make sure that your security answer is not something almost anyone can guess.

Advance Fee Scam

Some fraudsters opt to demand their victims give upfront payments for goods, services, or financial gains that are not true.

One example is lottery fraud. They will contact you via phone or email telling you that you’ve won a large sum of money that you can only claim by first giving an advanced fee or giving your personal information and banking details. But in the end, they will only keep your money and use the information you gave to steal funds from your account.

How to avoid this scam: If you know that you didn’t play the lottery or if an offer seems too good to be true, don’t believe that you’ve won something. Do not engage with strangers who ask for sensitive information about you or your accounts.

Romance Scam

Fraudsters are also flocking to online dating apps and social networking websites not to find love but money and personal information. They will pose as individuals looking for a lover or companionship. Once they’ve gained your affection and trust, they will start to ask for money for different reasons such as emergency or travel expenses, assurance that they will pay you back, or you will finally meet them in person.

How to avoid this scam: Don’t easily trust people you meet online as they can pretend to be someone they are not. Avoid giving them money, especially a large sum of money, especially if you haven’t met them before.

If you have lost money via e-Transfer scam such as the ones mentioned above, it is recommended that you immediately contact your financial institution and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center online through their fraud reporting system or call 1-888-495-8501.

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