Ontario businessman loses $38K in cheque-cashing scam
Published Tuesday, September 26, 2023 7:37AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, September 26, 2023 7:37AM EDT
An Ontario businessman says he has to pay about $38,000 after he was the victim of a cheque-cashing scam and failed to immediately report the fraudulent activity to his bank.
"I feel you work hard, you put your money in the bank, and that's why I don't have online banking because I'm worried about fraud," Joe John, owner of Guycan Machine Works in Mississauga, told CTV News Toronto.
John said he's always been nervous about online banking, so he only banks in person -- which is what he has been doing for the last 30 years for his business.
According to John, someone recently copied one of his cheques and created eight fraudulent ones. After uploading photos of the fake cheques into a mobile banking app, this individual allegedly deposited them, withdrawing $60,800.
TD Bank, which John banks with, launched an investigation and refunded two of the eight cheques. John said because he didn't report the fraudulent activity immediately, he is responsible for the remaining six cheques, which total $38,300.
In a letter from TD Bank, John was told, "Regrettably, your claim has been declined as we did not receive it within the required time period, which is detailed in your product agreement."
"TD Bank is saying they are not going to give me any money because I didn't report it right within 48 hours. How would I report it if I don't have online banking?" John said.
According to John, he receives his bank statement once a month. He says he is shocked he has to cover the losses, adding it will force him to close his business.
"This problem should never happen that someone can get a cheque, print a cheque, clear the cheque, and it comes out of the poor, working guy's account and the bank says, 'It's your problem,'" John said.
In a statement to CTV News Toronto, TD Bank confirmed it launched an investigation and is working with John directly on what to do next but could not provide details.
The bank advises customers to keep their cheques in a secure spot where they cannot be found easily, destroy unused cheques from closed accounts, and check account statements regularly.
"Reduce the use of cheques and opt for electronic payments like wire payments, direct deposit and pre-authorized payments instead. The money deposited comes directly from the payor and is credited directly into the account of the payee," the statement reads.
John says he wants his money back before he is forced to close his shop.
"I need to get my money back. I need the bank to take responsibility for their actions so other people don't have the same problem I have," John said.