Avoid Debit Fraud

At Alterna, we take fraud and the security of all our cards and electronic transactions very seriously

Debit cards are a popular and convenient payment option for many Canadians, and the majority of transactions are authorized and processed safely and securely. However, occasionally debit fraud can occur, resulting in unauthorized access and withdrawal of funds from your account.

Debit card fraud happens when the information contained on your debit card’s magnetic stripe is stolen, along with your Personal Identification Number (PIN), and then used to access your account without your authorization. Information can be stolen using card-reading devices that may be attached to ABMs and/or point-of-sale (POS) terminals. Hidden cameras and false PIN pads can also be used to capture your PIN. Both the card information and PIN are required to successfully access your account.

Alterna Bank has a dedicated fraud team that monitors transactions seven days a week to help protect your accounts. But the ultimate responsibility for maintaining the security of your account is yours. Protect yourself by following these recommended tips:

Protect your PIN

  • Your PIN is your electronic signature. Memorize your PIN and don’t write it down 
  • Use your hand or your body to shield your PIN when entering it into an ABM or point-of-sale keypad 
  • Do not lend your debit card or disclose your PIN to anyone - you’re the only person who should know your PIN. Notify Alterna Bank immediately if you suspect someone else has become aware of your PIN
  • Do not choose numbers for your PIN that would be easy to detect if your card is lost or stolen. For example, don’t use your birth date, address, or part of your telephone or social insurance number

Protect your card

  • Your debit card and PIN are the key to your account. Notify Alterna Bank immediately on our 24-hour card cancellation hotline toll-free at 1.888.807.4101 if your card is lost or stolen. If you’re unable to reach an Alterna employee directly, please leave a message. Note: You will not be responsible for any unauthorized transactions that occur after you have notified Alterna Bank that your card has been lost, stolen or compromised in any way
  • Keep your debit card in view at all times when completing transactions at point-of-sale terminals
  • Always remember to take your debit card and transaction record with you after completing a transaction
  • Be sure you understand your responsibilities as a cardholder as outlined in the liability section of your debit card agreement to avoid being liable for losses

Protect your account

  • Be alert! If someone is watching you or makes you feel uncomfortable, or if you notice anything unusual about an ABM or point-of-sale terminal, don't use it. Report the situation to Alterna Bank, the police, the ABM owner or merchant immediately 
  • Regularly review your transaction history online, in branch, via your passbook or your monthly bank statements and report any missing, unauthorized or improperly documented transactions to Alterna Bank immediately 
  • Destroy all old debit cards
  • If you receive any urgent messages from Alterna Bank regarding your account, please contact us immediately
  • Your debit card comes with set withdrawal limit. It may be that the limit exceeds your needs. A reduction of your limit would further protect your funds in the case of debit card fraud. Please contact us if you wish to explore this option. Your limit can be readjusted to meet your needs at any time

What to do if you suspect you are a victim of debit fraud:
Notify Alterna Bank immediately and request that your card be cancelled. You can reach us by calling one of the numbers below:

Ottawa  613.560.0160
Toll-free  1.888.807.4101

Visit a branch to report the suspicious activity and obtain a new debit card and/or PIN.

Please note that Alterna Bank provides the above information for your personal use only on the understanding that you agree not to hold Alterna Bank liable to you for providing this information. Alterna Bank does not guarantee that the information provided is complete or accurate. Links from this website to other websites, or references to products, services or publications other than those of Alterna Bank, do not imply that Alterna Bank endorses such websites, products, services or publications.