indicatorCybersecurity and Fraud Protection

Protect your business against email money transfer fraud

By ATB Financial 5 October 2020 5 min read

Email money transfer (e-Transfer) services provided by Interac are increasingly becoming a preferred method of payment. This is mainly due to the convenience that Interac e-Transfers have over other methods of payment, such as cheques or cash. And, with features such as Autodeposit and Request Money, Interac has made the experience of sending e-Transfers that much more desirable.

Business owners may choose the Interac e-Transfer service due to the convenience, easy-to-use platform, and the ability to settle payments in real time, easily track data and ultimately reduce costs.

On September 28, 2020, Interac reported that a total of 325 million e-Transfers took place between April and August 2020 with 66 million of those transfers happening in August alone. This is supported by Interac’s finding that approximately 60 per cent of users have increased their frequency of digital payments during the pandemic. Given the current economic conditions, users tend to be businesses that are opting for online or digital payments. Business users also exhibited an increase in the use of the service to accept payments and pay bills. In August 2020, business users utilizing the services increased by 21 per cent when compared to February 2020.

Integrating best anti-fraud practices

A survey conducted by Interac Corp. in 2019 determined that 96 per cent of Canadians were unable to spot a phishing scam when put to the test.

Fraud actors have the ability to intercept your transfer if you don’t safely secure your information. The following quick tips can be implemented in your day to day routine to help protect yourself, your funds and your business. With the rapidly increasing use of this service, understanding the risks involved with e-Transfers is more important than it has ever been.

e-Transfer intercept fraud

e-Transfer intercept occurs when a fraud actor intercepts your email money transfer and redirects it to a different bank account. This is done by gaining access to the recipient’s email account and retrieving the confirmation link to deposit the funds. The fraud actor can either guess the answer to the security question tied to the transfer, or search your email inbox to find the answer. Oftentimes, the fraud actor simply replies to the sender by email and asks for the answer.


Do:

  • Exercise caution when sending or receiving funds via e-Transfer to or from an unknown party, or someone you have just met. An e-Transfer cannot be reversed once it has been successfully deposited by the receiving party. Trust your intuition.
  • Treat your security questions and answers like a password—ensure they’re complex, hard to guess and are something that only you or the recipient can answer.
  • Provide the recipient with the answer over the phone, in person or using another secure method of communication.
  • Register for Interac e-Transfer Autodeposit to have money automatically deposited into the account you’ve registered to receive funds. This feature does not require you to answer a security question.
  • Protect yourself by creating strong and unique passwords for your accounts, including your email inboxes, internet banking, social media accounts and other accounts that carry confidential and/or personal information.

Don’t:

  • Don’t include the answer to your security question in the question itself, and don’t email the answer to the recipient.
  • Don’t reuse the same security question or answer for multiple recipients, or multiple transfers.
  • Don’t deposit funds or click on any links if you receive a notification from Interac for funds you’re not expecting. Confirm the transfer with the sender first.

Common e-Transfer scams

Fraud actors are creative and have access to data that allows them to craft lucrative and high-quality phishing campaigns. Here are the most common scams which involve the use of Interac e-Transfer services to facilitate the fraud:

  • Financial institution scam: Fraud actors often impersonate bank representatives and lure victims into divulging personal information such as their online banking credentials. If you receive an email, SMS message or phone call from someone with a request to input your online banking credentials, don’t do it. Instead, reach out to your regular contact, or call a trusted phone number to verify the request.
  • Money transfer scam: When receiving a confirmation of a money transfer, read the details thoroughly before accepting the funds. The purpose of sending a fraudulent money transfer is to gather your personal details such as online credentials and answers to your security questions. Pick up the phone and contact the sender to confirm the transfer.
  • Tax return scam: If you receive an email from your tax agency indicating that you have a tax return available for deposit, don’t respond to the email or click on any links. Fraud actors are known to impersonate revenue or tax agencies in order to collect extremely confidential information about their victims, such as their social insurance number. Providing this information can open you up to risks such as identity theft, malware on your devices and breach of personal information.
  • Refund scam: The refund scam has become increasingly popular and involves a notification to the victim indicating that their last or current bill was overpaid. The SMS message or email will then ask the reader to click on a link for a refund. In cases like this, the best practice is to directly contact the company’s customer support to confirm the legitimacy of the message.

Are you a victim of e-Transfer fraud?

If you think you may have fallen victim to e-Transfer fraud, take the following steps as precautionary measures:

  • Change your passwords. This includes your password for your email inbox, internet banking, social media, etc.
  • Contact your financial institution, who will help identify if there has been any unauthorized access to your internet banking.
  • Consider filing a police report and reporting the details of the fraudulent activity to Interac.
    Download the Cybersecurity Toolkit and learn more about common fraud methodologies and how to protect yourself and your business.

Although Interac E-transfers are protected by multiple layers of security, all parties are responsible for preventing fraud and mitigating fraud risks.

Want to take a deeper look into mitigating fraud risk for your business? Contact our business solutions support team at ATBBusiness@atb.com or 1-877-363-4855. We’re here to help Alberta businesses thrive, wherever they operate.

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