Hackers siphon Penticton man’s bank account

$3,000 drained from Penticton man's account after fraudulent account set up over the Internet

A Penticton man is issuing a warning after $3,000 was drained from his bank account.

The man, who preferred not have his name used, was checking his email last week when he noticed one from TD Canada Trust congratulating him on opening a new account, of which he knew nothing about. After attempts to get onto his web and telephone banking were denied, the man phoned TD and told them what was happening.

“The woman told me about all these transactions that had been made. From there everything just went topsy-turvey after that,” he said.

Because his Visa was connected to the same online banking account, the hackers were able to transfer sums of money from both his bank account and credit card to the new account they fraudulently created. This drained the man’s account leaving him with nothing but an overdraft.

“I just got really upset that I’m getting ripped off. I was so upset, I just about started to cry,” said the Penticton man. “I asked if they ever catch these people, and the bank said it is almost impossible to catch them.”

After speaking with his Penticton branch in person, and the fraud department in Toronto to verify his account did get hacked into, the Penticton man said he will get all his money reimbursed and will not have to pay any interest or email banking transfer charges.

But the exhausting ordeal now has him closely reviewing all of his passwords, email accounts and private information on his computer. It has left the man disheartened, not at his bank, but with the criminals lurking on the Internet.

“It does make you a little bit paranoid and sure makes you think about what you are doing,” he said. “Take a second look at everything and really ask yourself do you really need to purchase this over the Internet, or can it be bought in a store locally. The Internet is a fantastic place to shop and do just about anything, but there is also that criminal element that is there looking for somebody to steal from. You have to be more vigilant.”

RCMP have urged citizens to get onboard with Change Your Password Day, organized for Feb. 1 by technology blog Gizmodo.

“Cyber crime can be devastating for victims but it is really a hard crime for police to investigate and for courts to prosecute,” said Cpl. Jamie Chung, a RCMP media relations officer. “This is an area where prevention is really the way to go, and initiatives like Change Your Password Day make it simpler and more social for all of us. ”

According to a 2011 Norton cyber crime report, 7.3 million Canadian Internet users reported being victims of cyber crime in 2010. That means approximately 14 Canadians were targeted every minute. Gizmodo said all a hacker needs is an email account and a person’s hometown or mother’s maiden name to break into a bank account.

“Don’t simply use your pet’s name because that may be online somewhere or on social media, so people could easily guess that,” said Jeff Meerman, spokesperson for TD Bank.

Meerman said the banking industry has seen an increase in fraud and they continue to tighten security measures in response. Fraud, he said, comes in many different forms including phishing. This technique is where people try to impersonate a legitimate business, usually a bank, and will send an email asking customers to put in their personal information such as user name and password. He encourages customers to regularly update accounts, at least every 90 days, with unique passwords that are a combination of upper and lower case letters and numbers.

The TD spokesperson added that in the event a customer does experience fraud, they are protected by the Canadian Code of Practice for Consumer Debit Card Services. Under this, proven victims of fraud who have experienced a loss are fully reimbursed.

If you think you have been hacked, immediately change all of your passwords, notify the service provider for your hacked account and notify the police. Meerman suggested people visit the Canadian Bankers Association website to learn about staying safe.


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