Today’s letters: Canada’s banks can do more to help victims of fraud

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Banks can help stop fraudsters

Recently, there have been several articles on Canadian bank frauds involving Interac-e transfers, wire and global transfers from customers. There is currently a proposed class-action suit with 140 victims against the Bank of Montreal.

Canadian banks have been urging clients to convert to online banking, which saves them costs and increases profits. It is time that they took ownership of the fraud problems and took stronger steps to prevent them. I propose that the industry take the following steps:

1. Bank clients should not automatically be given access to these online transfer systems when they open an account. Clients should be given the choice to sign up in person or decline all transfers until requested in person and in writing. If a an elderly person feels that they will never use electronic transfers, they would do well to advise their bank in writing. If a fraudulent transfer is made, then a copy of this letter might help them in court.

2. All transfers should be followed up by a written email or text that lists the amount transferred and to whom.

3. Online transfers initiated by clients over $5,000 or any transfers going to a foreign country should require a double password authentication by text or phone call.

Recently, when clients complained that they did not authorize the transfers, the banks suggested that they failed to protect their passwords and disclaimed responsibility. In some cases, the senior citizens have never used the global transfer systems. In the case above it is hard to believe that 140 people were careless with their passwords.

As a shareholder of the Bank of Montreal, I hope that the bank compensates for the losses and improves protection for every client. All Canadian banks have a duty of care to protect every customer from fraud, especially our seniors who are vulnerable to ever-changing electronic systems.

This article was originally sourced from www.OttawaCitizen.com