Scotiabank Text Scam Loses Nova Scotia Couple $3000


With the use of both email and text message channels from banks, it is becoming difficult for the average customer to identify a legitimate communication from their bank. And sometimes, these customers fall into the trap laid out by crooks, such as one the Nova Scotia couple who lost $3,000 thanks to a text message that mimicked Scotiabank’s InfoAlerts text message, reports CBC News.

Bank fraud unusual activity

The fraudsters sent a message that looked like a legitimate call to action from Scotiabank. After logging into their bank account — likely by clicking on a link inserted into the text message — the fraudsters siphoned their login credentials and cleaned out $3,000 from the couple’s bank account.

The bank said that the couple had willingly given out their banking information; hence, it won’t replace the money. Of course, the couple reacted by saying: “Who would log into something like that if they knew? No person would do that. We did it because we thought it was this bank app that we had been using all along.”

Scotiabank’s spokesman acknowledged that phishing is an ongoing problem and it is on the rise.

I’m sure you have received emails urging you to reset your internet banking password. That’s what SCENE did recently. But as Halifax marketing professor Ed McHugh says, it’s easy to confuse consumers because some of the phishing emails look very similar to legitimate ones: They feature corporate logos and email addresses that appear to be official. In the case of SCENE, the email was legit.

SCENE spokesman Matthew Seagrim’s suggestion: If you are not sure whether this is a legit email, call your bank before you click on the link inserted in the email. Or visit the legitimate website and log in without clicking on any of the links that come embedded in emails.


  • ddkkpp

    Scotia Bank is terrible for fraud. Someone used a Scotia Bank Visa card fraudulently at our gallery more than a month after it was first reported as fraudulent!

    I’m with PC Financial and they would shut my card down MINUTES after any suspicious activity!

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  • Carla Matos

    Is this another one of those scams?

  • Bill___A

    This has to do with someone clicking a link in a message which everyone has been told repeatedly for years NOT to do. Although there should be challenge questions and alerts if there is a login from a different device, this isn’t a new scam and people need to be really careful. Their home insurance may have some fraud coverage. It is too bad that it happened, to be sure…

    I’m sure you have received emails urging you to reset your internet banking password. That’s what SCENE did recently. But as Halifax marketing professor Ed McHugh says, it’s easy to confuse consumers because some of the phishing emails look very similar to legitimate ones: They feature corporate logos and email addresses that appear to be official. In the case of SCENE, the email was legit.

    Yeah I did. And I logged in the way I normally do, not through a link… I can tell in a second that the text is a scam, it is very evident in the link.

  • ddkkpp

    Sure, blame the victims.

    You’re right that they shouldn’t have clicked the link, but Scotia Bank shouldn’t have let $3000 be “siphoned” off in a suspicious manner either!!

    A new bank transfer recipient with no history with you? Slowly taking funds out of your bank?

    Scotia Bank is as responsible for this fraud as the folks who clicked the phishing scam.

  • Olley

    Why does this happen to Scotiabank so often?? I’m considering closing my accounts with them.

  • Mr Dog

    Oh no please. This is why when I go to take out $3000 in the future I won’t be able to because of some random ass security check on my account because other people were not careful with their information.

  • ddkkpp

    Really. Is it too hard to answer the phone and confirm the amount?

    An extra security check that takes 60 seconds is worth it imo.

  • Mr Dog

    You mean like it is that hard for the people who get these text to call and confirm with a bank representative about their account activity?

  • ddkkpp

    No, I’m sure it isn’t.

    When they checked they were $3000 poorer though.

  • Mr Dog

    What! No

    I meant when getting a text regarding unusual banking activities, it’s not that hard to pick up the phone and call the bank.

    Instead of blindly following links from random numbers and giving them your info.

  • ddkkpp

    They thought they were the victims of fraud. They changed their account info and figured it was nipped in the bud.

    I don’t think that’s weird. Personally, I hate calling the bank. There’s a long automated message you have to sit through to get a human and then it takes a while to pull up your info.

    I’d rather the bank called me. Luckily, my bank does just that!

    Scotia Bank is a pile of hot garbage.

  • Mr Dog

    So your saying put everyone else at an inconvenience and have them call in, sit through the long automated message for a transfer so people who don’t know better can be safe?

    Please, this problem is rellavnt to all banks. And all the banks call you if they have fraudulent activity on your account. There is not a single bank that send a text message from a random number to notify them of fraudulent activity.

    It feels like you did not follow the story. Your aware that the message is not from the bank? And from the scammer taking people to a fake website?

  • ddkkpp

    Actually, when the bank calls you in case of fraud, it’s always a person on the other line.

    Do you want me to explain the story back to you?

    They got a phishing scam text stating fraudulent activity on their account which asked them to reset their passwords.

    They reset their passwords, thinking they had just avoided fraud. Instead, they had unknowingly given their account information to a scammer.

    The bank subsequently allowed the scammer to make multiple withdraws until the victims noticed, by which time they had taken about $3000.

    Am I missing something? The bank is just fine for sitting there watching a scammer “siphon” money out of an account?

    lol, okay sure.

  • Mr Dog

    I am aware of that lol. But how exactly is the bank suppose to know it is the scammer logging in and not the user? Lol

    The person logged in out of their own accord on a fake website. The scammers now has their username, password, location where they logged in from, as well as type of computer and browser.

    It is like giving your username and password to your friend of a friend and they login for you. How is the bank suppose to know that it was a scammer loggin in and not you?

    Why should everyone pay the inconvenience fee for a few people not capable of protecting their information.

  • Mr Dog

    Should the bank be held accountable if I publicly post my login creditials online along with all my personal info?

    The people to be held accountable are the scammers not the banks.

  • Bill___A

    No, they are not as responsible for it as the victims. I am sad that the victims lost money, but I don’t think the Scotiabank shareholders should pay for their inability to pay attention to what they are doing..

    This is from their website:
    Never respond to pop-ups, emails or SMS requests that ask you to give personal information about yourself or your Scotiabank accounts. We will not send you unsolicited emails or SMS messages asking for your mobile banking password, ScotiaCard Personal Identification Number (PIN), credit card or account numbers, etc.

  • ddkkpp

    My bank knows. I get 2-step verification questions whenever I change browsers/IPs.

    I’ve been served phishing scams before that fool my autocomplete function on my browser.

    I appreciate the extra security my bank offers and if you don’t care about that and want a hands off bank, then I guess Scotia Bank is your go-to choice.

    For me, I’ll stick with the little inconveniences of added security.

  • Mr Dog

    your just going off topic now and ranting about Scotia lol.

    All the banks have similar security protocols and procedures. Every bank has a ‘2-step verification question’ when your browser or ip changes.

    But if people willing give out their login password, username, answers, what type of computer they are using, the browser, etc etc, how is it still the banks fault?

    Would you be ok with having to call in to your bank every time to you made a e-tranfer? Or paid a bill? Because that is what you are saying you are ok with and that banks should do to make it more ‘secure’

  • ddkkpp

    Uhhh, no.

    Some banks / credit cards have stronger security and others weaker.

    Scotia Bank is one of the worst in Canada, this specific case just reinforces that.

    You wanna keep shilling for Scotia, go ahead. You sure seem to take pride in your work.

  • Mr Dog

    what proof do you have that Scotia is one of the worst? lol

    We have one of our banks that only use pin codes for passwords, some that only allow 8 characters and no symbols. They all have their caveats. I can guarantee you any bank is prone to this kind of fraud.

  • ddkkpp

    Keep an eye out in the news. Scotia is one of the names that keeps popping up. Their internal controls aren’t up to the standard of their competitors.

    If you pay attention, you’ll see that Scotia displays a pattern of disregarding best practices when it comes to security.

  • Mr Dog

    Care to provide some references because I have not seen a single article critiquing their security not any evidence of them disregarding best practices.

  • ddkkpp

    “She called police, but first she called her credit card companies: MBNA MasterCard, Capital One MasterCard, American Express and Scotiabank Visa. The calls were all made within an hour. But it was too late because in that short span, the thief spent about $3,000. About $1,600 was billed on her Scotiabank Visa card.

    Altomare said American Express, MBNA, and Capital One were all “sympathetic” and agreed to reverse the charges. But Scotiabank would not because the bank said her PIN code was too easy to break.”

    “Fowler was also angry at the fact the bank, he said, didn’t notify him that the cheque was counterfeit. 

    “You trust your bank … if you can’t trust your bank, why go there?””

    “At a later date, I could no longer access my account online, and when I enquired on the 24-hour service line, all I could hear was the same advice that “I should try and pay off the balance”.”

    (She was defrauded over $100,000)