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Banking security in Canada: How to get a refund after bank fraud

In Canada, the number of bank frauds has risen sharply. Statistics Canada reports that more than one in six Canadians has been a victim of fraud in the past five years.

In an age where banking information is predominantly digital, such occurrences are neither rare nor surprising. Online fraud pirates are always on the lookout to set their next trap.

While prevention is key, what happens if you fall victim to fraud? How do I report fraud? How can you get your money back?

This article answers these questions, providing you with a step-by-step guide, regardless of the type of fraud you encounter.

Different types of bank fraud

Regardless of its form, bank fraud is an illegal activity to extract money from an individual’s bank source. However, it’s crucial to know that fraudsters use various methods. Here are the main ones:

Credit and debit card fraud

Credit or debit card fraud involves the unauthorized use of your own bank card for fraudulent purchases. Whether the fraudster has it or has the information, they can use it in several different places until you realize it and then deactivate your card at your financial institution.

Wire transfer fraud

Today, fraudsters use various means and platforms to access your online banking portal and transfer funds to their accounts. And while banking security in Canada has greatly improved, no one is really safe.

Phishing or online fraud

Phishing is a scam using various means (malware, fake sites, etc.) to obtain sensitive information. We’re talking about your address, passwords, credit card details, etc. Scammers then use this information to carry out transactions on your behalf.

ATM skimming

This involves small fraudulent devices installed in payment terminals to capture your bank card information during withdrawals or payments.

Identity fraud

This frequent fraud involves using your personal information without authorization for account opening, loan applications, and online purchases. It’s usually the next logical step after other types of fraud, in which criminals steal your personal and banking information (passwords, bank details, etc.) without your knowledge.

Whatever form of fraud you may encounter, the first step is to report it to your bank. This is often what will lead to a proper claim.


How to report bank fraud

Before thinking about getting your money back, you must report fraud. Here are the steps you need to follow to report fraud of any kind:

Contact your financial institution

As soon as you notice any unauthorized or suspicious activity in one of your bank accounts, contact your bank or caisse immediately. You’ll be asked questions to verify your identity and determine which account(s) is/are the subject of potential fraud.

Disable account(s)

In most cases, access to your accounts will be blocked by deactivating the source used by the fraudster. Credit card, debit card, online banking portal, etc.

Obtain evidence of fraudulent transactions

Take detailed notes on fraudulent transactions (dates, amounts, locations, etc.). Also take screenshots or print statements to support your case, if required.

Contact credit agencies

If the fraud involves identity theft, your credit score may be affected. Contact the various credit agencies (such as Equifax, Experian, TransUnion, etc.). They can issue a fraud alert on your file so that everything can be straightened out more quickly.

Did you know that the sooner you report fraud, the easier it will be to minimize the damage and recover your funds? It is, therefore, essential to act quickly. Also, be sure to follow all specific procedures and advice issued by your bank following the fraud.

How do I get my money back after a bank fraud?

In general, the financial institution protects every customer against bank fraud. As soon as you report the fraud and follow the steps outlined by your bank, a refund process is immediately set in motion.

Rarely specific steps are required with the authorities before obtaining a refund. In all cases, your financial institution can advise you and guide you to the right resources.

Fraud prevention: your best ally

Thanks to their arsenal against bank fraud, today’s financial institutions have everything they need to help you get back to normal as quickly as possible.

Nevertheless, fraud prevention remains your best ally. Because, while it’s easier than ever to report a fraudulent transaction and win your case, fraud itself is no picnic. It also implies that one person (or several!) has access to personal information. In the digital age, we all have an interest in making them as accessible as possible.

The good news is that the practices you need to put in place to protect your data and optimize fraud prevention are simple:

Watch out for text messages and e-mails

Cybercriminals can easily pose as telephone service providers, banks, companies or even governments. If you’re not 100% sure of the source, never open links sent to you, and double- and triple-check. The messages sent are increasingly persuasive. Similarly, for websites that may reproduce institutional sites: check logos, company presentation pages and accreditations, for example.

Protect your banking and personal data

Yes, it’s still relevant. Whether you pay in person or online, make sure your data is protected and that no one but you has access to it. We’re careful with our children, who know certain information and can also be the source of information leaks around them. Introduce them to data protection.

Also, at home, don’t leave any sensitive information on your desks in view of untrusted third parties (repairmen, cleaning staff, etc.).

Keep an eye out for suspicious windows

You make an online purchase, and you’re sent to a new tab (new window + new URL) to continue payment? It’s suspicious. The platform should have everything on its own pages to complete the payment. Before becoming a victim of fraud, ensure everything is in order on the shopping site. Scams are unfortunately very common when it comes to online shopping, especially on lesser-known sites.


Frequently Asked Questions

Are you still wondering about bank fraud and how to protect yourself at all times? Here are the answers from the experts at Milesopedia to some frequently asked questions:

How can you optimize the protection of your personal and banking data?

First of all, always be sure to keep your information confidential (passwords, addresses, etc.). Next, make sure your connections are secure. For example, if you’re connected to a public Wi-Fi network, activate your network connection before accessing your bank accounts.

Two-step verification (or 2FA) is also a highly relevant and recommended form of strong authentication. Find out how best to activate it on your preferred applications where you need to provide sensitive information. Finally, don’t forget to destroy any documents containing personal or banking information. Shred them before throwing them in the garbage can, for example.

Are there any resources available to help me deal with bank fraud?

Yes, regulators and government agencies (such as the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre) can provide advice and assistance in the event of bank fraud. However, your bank remains your first point of contact for resolving these problems.

Should I report fraudulent sites, text messages or e-mails?

Ideally, yes. For example, if you receive a text message from a fraudster trying to impersonate your ISP, it’s in the ISP’s interest to know. In this way, they can better protect their customers from this trap, and also report fraudulent activities to the appropriate authorities.

How long does it take to get a refund following bank fraud?

This depends on a number of factors. Firstly, the time between fraud and reporting. The complexity of the fraud, the bank’s policies and your level of cooperation are also factors.

Is it normal for my account to be frozen following fraud?

Yes, it is common for the bank to temporarily restrict access to your account following a reported fraudulent transaction. Banks take these security measures to prevent further fraudulent transactions and protect your funds.

Suspension of the account may also allow the bank to conduct a thorough investigation into suspicious activity. And while this may be inconvenient, it is designed to protect the financial interests of every customer. Usually, everything returns to normal within a few hours, while the investigation is completed and the situation clarified. We recommend that you keep in touch with your bank and provide any additional information required to speed up the process.

Is there a general fraud service in Canada?

As mentioned above, you can contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre: a public service accessible to all. They’ll help you see things more clearly and guide you to the next steps.

How do I cancel a fraudulent transaction?

Think you’ve made a suspicious payment? Don’t wait. Contact your caisse or bank immediately. The transaction, even if confirmed on the screen, may not yet have been processed in your account.

How can I prove credit card fraud?

Technology makes it easy to trace transactions in your various accounts. If a fraudulent action has been committed, your financial institution will be able to analyze it and determine that it is indeed fraud. Once again, you may be asked to provide certain information to facilitate the process.

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