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Digital security

Tips for keeping your Interac e-Transfer transactions secure

December 18, 2023

Whether it’s to pay back a friend or help out a family member, Interac® e-Transfer is the perfect way to send money quickly and securely. It’s easy, convenient, and free of charge1 when you have a transaction plan with Desjardins. Even though Interac e e-Transfer is one of the most secure ways to send money, no one is safe from scammers. But you can outsmart them by staying on your toes. Since this method has become a popular way to send money in recent years, here are some good habits to get into to keep your transfers secure.

Best practices

Picture this: You’ve just moved into a new place and, to make life easier, you used Interac e-Transfer to pay your rent. Great idea! But instead of going to your landlord, the funds end up being deposited into someone else’s account. How could that happen? A scam artist easily found the answer to your security question after successfully intercepting the email you sent your landlord to let them know about the transfer. And there’s nothing you can do! The Interac e-Transfer can’t be cancelled once the funds have been deposited into the recipient’s account.

You can prevent this kind of scenario by taking a few precautions. Be creative in choosing your security question. If you put "blue" as the answer to the question "What colour is the sky?", you're not making a very secure choice, even if it's a rainy, grey day. And never include your answer in the email you send the recipient. If you’re worried they won’t know the answer to your security question, let them know another way—preferably by speaking to them.

5 tips to send money safely using Interac e-Transfer

  1. Before setting up the transfer, always check with the recipient to find out if they prefer text or email delivery2. Alternate between calling, texting and emailing, and make sure not to send all the information they’ll need for the transfer in the same message. For example, if you’re emailing the transfer, confirm the address by text or over the phone.
  2. The first rule also applies to the answer to the security question. If the recipient forgets the answer to the question and asks you to provide it again, use another method of communication to reply.
  3. Like the security question, the answer should be hard for the recipient to guess, whether they’re a close friend or a stranger.
  4. If you receive a notification about a transfer, make sure to deposit the funds right away, so a scam artist doesn’t intercept it.
  5. It’s best to send money using Interac e-Transfer only to people you trust.

Tip: Set up Interac e-Transfer® Autodeposit. This feature lets you automatically and securely deposit any Interac e-Transfers you receive into a pre-selected account, without answering a security question or logging in to AccèsD.

By having the money deposited directly into your account, you reduce the risk of your transfer being intercepted by a scammer who has hacked your email account. You'll receive a notice letting you know the deposit was made.

Learn more about this feature

A few traps to avoid

You should always be extra careful with financial transactions, because scam artists are never short on inspiration. Here are some examples.

  • Did you get an email notification about an Interac e-Transfer you weren’t expecting? That’s a red flag. Check with the person or organization the transfer is supposedly from before depositing the money into your account.
  • Did you get a text or email from Interac that included a link asking you to confirm your banking information? Careful, this message is probably fake. Don’t hesitate to contact your financial institution to find out if the message is legitimate. You can often tell from the email address alone whether or not it’s fake. The message may look legitimate, but use a strange email address.
  • Did you process multiple transfers for the same recipient? Be aware that by default, the question and security answer are applicable to all transfers processed for that same recipient. Remain vigilant: with this information, a malicious person could collect all subsequent transfers. It’s in your best interest to choose strong security questions!
  • If you buy used items online, don't pay for them until you've actually got your hands on them. Follow the best practices for Interac e-Transfers or pay cash.
  • Don’t send a transfer to show how interested you are in something you want to rent or buy, like an apartment, condo or car. A scammer could ask you to send an e-transfer without sending the answer to the security question to hold the item for you. Then, you receive an email that looks like it’s from Desjardins or Interac, asking you to confirm the answer—but it’s really a phishing email and if you answer, the scammer will be able to accept the transfer.
  • Want to send money to someone with Autodeposit? Take the time to double-check that the name of the person registered for Autodeposit is the same as the person you're sending money to. If they're not the same, think twice. It's the sender's responsibility to make sure they have the right contact information for the recipient.

As an example, here's how you can verify information when you send an Interac e-Transfer to someone registered for Autodeposit:

Interac e-Transfer Request Money: A little-known feature 

There's a new scam making the rounds with sellers on online resale sites. You post an item for sale, and a buyer contacts you saying they're interested and pressures you to sell them the item quickly using Interac e-Transfer. Sometimes they offer to pay more than your posted price or even send you a deposit to reserve the item. Then you receive a message in English or French from Interac notifying you that the buyer "sent you a request for $X (CAD) / vous a envoyé une demande de $X (CAD)." But be careful—that's not a request to deposit money, it's a request to withdraw it!

Interac has a lot of features, including ones that let you send and request money3. Most people aren't familiar with the Interac eTransfer Request Money feature, and scammers take advantage of that fact. Keep an eye out and refuse these kinds of requests, because you won't receive any reimbursement for this type of fraud.

And there you have it—everything you need to know to send Interac e-Transfers worry-free.

® Interac e-Transfer is a registered Trade-mark of Interac Corp.  Corporation Used under licence.  

1. Transfers can only be made in Canadian dollars. Transaction fees apply if you exceed the number of transactions included in your monthly plan or if you don’t have a plan. For more information, visit Transaction Fees - Desjardins.

2. This information is used only to send a transfer notice to the recipient. Recipients must have an account at a participating financial institution and have secure online access to that account.

3. Desjardins doesn’t offer the Interac e-Transfer Request Money feature to its members, but they may still receive this type of request from another financial institution.