Can I Get Scammed Through Interac E-Transfer?

You decide to sell your used Macbook Pro on Kijiji.

You wait patiently for a buyer. Days pass… *Silence*

You get a message from someone looking to buy your used MBP. You both set up a time and date.

You meet the seller. He says, “Alright, twelve hundred dollars, right? Can I e-transfer you?” “Sure,” you say reluctantly.

He e-transfers you while you patiently checking your account for money to be sent. But minutes pass and you don’t get the e-transfer.

Then, the seller says, “I gotta run. I think the e-transfer needs time to process. But let me know if it doesn’t work and I’ll e-transfer the funds to you again”.

Has this ever happened to you? This happened to my girlfriend several months ago when she was selling her used camera. Fortunately, we did not get scammed.

However, there are scammers out there looking to take advantage of etransfers.

So, in this article, let’s talk about some common e transfer scams to avoid.

Common Interac E-Transfer Scams or Frauds

1. Fake Interac E-Transfer Texts

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Fake text messages are a common e-transfer scam, and it’s quite similar to another scam – that scam being the fake phone calls saying how you owe the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) money for past owed taxes.

One fake text message I’ve received from a scammer has been a text message saying how I’ve received an e transfer from an “unknown” individual. Furthermore, if I click on the link, it leads me to a different website to input my banking information. This is also known as a phishing scam.

Another common scam I’ve heard pop up recently is text messages where the Canada Revenue Agency has sent you an Interac E Transfer. It is imperative to know the CRA does not send or request e-transfers of any kind. The CRA only sends payments by direct deposit or by cheque in the mail. If you receive an e-Transfer claiming to be from the CRA, it’s most likely a scam! Click here for more information from the CRA.

2. Requesting Deposits via E-Transfer

I’ve seen this way too often, and in cities like Toronto, this happens more often than not. When I was looking for an apartment in Toronto, I joined Facebook housing groups where landlords advertised their properties, and there was one FB posting that took me by surprise.

A lady had posted about how she had been scammed due to her paying the security deposit through e transfer, as the presumed landlord had ghosted her. Apparently, the scammer had shown her pictures of a condo unit, and she had paid the deposit. You might think she was a bit naïve, but in a city like Toronto, where the demand for housing is extremely high, this is very probable, especially if it’s a good deal.

Another deposit scam I read about recently was from this very informative Reddit post. It’s written from the perspective of an individual who works for the big 5 banks, so I’m sure they’ve seen a huge majority of the e transfer scams called in. But the scam I’m referring to is the puppy scam.

I’ve seen Kijiji postings where people ask for deposits for a specific breed of a puppy or cat, and it seems quite odd that individuals want a deposit for pets.

Conclusion

Although e transfers have been great for making transferring money, it has its issues. It can be extremely disheartening to be scammed through e transfer. To avoid these scams, anytime you are dealing with e transfers, make sure it’s someone you know. If not, it can be helpful to have a legal contract stating terms. Lastly, for any other e transfers, if you feel anything is weird, trust your gut!

Alternatively, you can use other transaction providers, such as Paypal or the up-and-coming online transaction provider – WealthSimple’s Cash App.

Author

  • syao scaled

    Stephen Yao is a writer, ex-Deloitte financial engineer with expertise in the life insurance, pension, and capital markets industry. He lives in Toronto, Ontario, and writes about personal finance and career fulfillment.

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