Debit Card Fraud - When would you be liable for losses?

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When would you be liable for losses?

The Canadian Code of Practice for Consumer Debit Card Services has been developed to help protect consumers in their use of debit card services in Canada by clarifying consumer and industry responsibilities. Most financial institutions have committed to maintaining or exceeding the level of consumer protection the Code establishes.

The Code says that:

You are not liable for losses resulting from circumstances beyond your control as long as you report the incident as soon as you are aware of the loss and cooperate in any subsequent investigation. Circumstances beyond your control include but are not limited to:

  • Situations in which you were the victim of trickery, force, intimidation or theft.
  • Technical problems with a banking machine or debit card terminal.
  • Losses relating to cards that are forged, faulty, expired, or cancelled.

You may be liable for losses if you have contributed to the unauthorized use of your debit card by:

  • Writing your PIN on or near your card.

  • Keeping a poorly disguised copy of your PIN in close proximity to your card. For example, writing down "Bank-1286".

  • Choosing an unacceptable PIN selected from your name, telephone number, date of birth, address, or social insurance number.

  • Voluntarily giving your PIN to someone who subsequently contributes to the fraud.

  • Failing to notify your financial institution, as soon as you are aware, that your card has been lost, stolen or misused or that your PIN may have become known to someone else.

  • Failing to cooperate in the investigation of the loss.

Your financial institution will probably want to ask you questions about the circumstances of the loss to ensure that you did not authorize the transaction or that you did not contribute to the loss in any of the above ways.