Skip to main content

Bank scam victims say more needs to be done to protect deposits


Over the past year, dozens of BMO customers have seen their money taken by hackers, but few have any chance of recouping even a single dollar.

At least one Calgary complainant CTV News spoke with has been offered a settlement with the big bank, but cannot discuss it any further as a result.

Most are simply out the money.

Angele Mayne says she had just received a deposit from a client into her family business' account.

On June 13, 2023, she got an email notification that her e-transfer had been accepted.

Then another, and another.

Ten within three minutes, for a total of $10,000.

"There were 10 e-transfers sent from 9:20 in the morning to 9:23. And I caught it at like 9:25," Mayne said.

She says her daily transfer limit was set at just $3,000 – she later found it had been more than tripled the day before.

She says at first, her branch thought the money could be returned – then it couldn't.

She says the bank stopped returning her messages in August.

The banking ombudsman sided with BMO in February.

"Very frustrated and angry. ... It's stressful. Just the whole procedure has been completely stressful on our business, and my family and me and my husband as well," she said.

"Like, it's just taken a big impact on us."

Mayne is part of a group of 140 customers who have had their bank accounts raided by thieves online over the past year.

They say together, they are out $1.5 million.

BMO said in a statement it recognizes how difficult it is for customers who fall victim to thieves and provides support depending on the circumstances.

BMO also says the only way into the accounts is with a password that only the customers have.

One-Time Passwords (OTPs) are used for two-factor authentication and should not be shared with anyone.

The messages also come with a warning:

"This code grants access to your accounts. Calls to request it may be a scam. If called, hang up and call the number on (your) BMO card."

The Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI) sent a statement on Thursday, saying in part:

"Banks have an obligation to comply with the Bank Act consumer protection provisions and meet any assurances they have given, such as through a code of conduct or in their account agreements or public statements – generally, none of these includes an obligation to halt unusual transactions and unfortunately, money transferred by criminals is usually transferred in a way that makes it unrecoverable by the bank."

If you are contacted by someone who seems to have knowledge of your financial transactions, hang up, wait a few minutes to make sure they are off the phone and then call the number on your bank card or go to a branch.

Never share OTPs or other confidential information over the phone.

The OBSI reports 664 cases of e-transfer and wire fraud cases in 2023. Top Stories

Stay Connected