Ontario man denied refund after hackers guess e-transfer password
TORONTO -- An Ontario man was shocked when his bank refused to reimburse him for an e-transfer he says was intercepted by hackers.
“It was sent to my email, but they hacked my email account or got into it and answered the password correctly somehow," King City man Joshua Morra told CTV News Toronto.
Morra said he uses e-transfers frequently, sometimes even to send cash between accounts he has at two different banks to pay bills.
An investigation by his bank found that the $530 e-transfer he sent to himself was intercepted and deposited by someone else who was able to guess his password.
He appealed to TD Bank three times over four months, but in the end he was denied reimbursement because he was told his password was too easy to guess—something he disagrees with.
“It had nothing to do with me, my street address, my name or my favourite school, nothing like that and the bottom line is it (the password) met their basic criteria," Morra said.
On TD’s website it says e-transfer fraud occurs when a third party is able to intercept an email money transfer and correctly guess or obtain the password.
A spokesperson for TD Bank told CTV News Toronto that when sending an e-transfer, it's important "to ensure that the recipient's email address is correct, and that the security password is something that only the sender and recipient know, and is not easily guessable.”
As people use less cash, e-transfers have become a target for scammers.
The president of the Canadian Association of Secured Transportation, a group that advocates for the safe transport of valuables, says that when it comes to e-transfer scams, "the fraud can be perpetrated by anyone with a computer and the internet and the ability to get into a recipient’s email account and it can be done around the corner or around the world."
The group says banks should create a stronger password system to protect their clients.
“The e-transfer system lets people chose any password, typically if it is between three and 25 letters and you can't use spaces or special characters which are really critical in using a strong password," Steven Meitin said.
TD Bank said it takes its responsibility to prevent fraud seriously. After CTV News reached out to TD on Morra’s behalf the bank said it would refund his money as a goodwill gesture.