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Security and Privacy

Your Privacy

Privacy Policy
Avoiding Debit Fraud
Avoiding Scams
Online Banking Security
Mobile Security Tips
Protect Your Identity
Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)


Our Commitment to You

Alterna Bank (“Alterna”, “we”, “us” or “our”) has a long-standing tradition of providing quality service. As such we take privacy seriously. We take steps to protect the confidentiality and security of your personal information.  The purpose of this Privacy Policy is to inform our clients and other individuals we deal with (“you” or “your”) of how we collect, use, disclose and protect your personal information. This Privacy Policy applies to our collection, use and disclosure of personal information in Canada.  This Privacy Policy does not apply to information about our employees or to information that is not personal information.

Your Responsibilities Regarding Privacy

As a client you are given access to certain systems in order to conduct transactions easily. This access includes Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) for ABMs and Personal Access Codes (PACs) or passwords for Online and Telephone Banking.

These numbers are not visible to Alterna. It is up to you to protect this information and prevent misuse. It is important to safeguard the personal or banking information you choose to hold, whether it’s account or credit card statements, unused cheques or PIN/PAC codes.

Also, remember that email sent over the internet is usually not transmitted in an encrypted format. We suggest you do not send confidential information to us or anyone else by unencrypted email.

Finally, phishing is a practice where fraudsters use electronic communication to pose as legitimate organizations in order to obtain sensitive account information. If a security concern or other important matter arises, we will never inform you by email, but may use secure online banking intranet service to communicate with you. We will also never request sensitive information from you by email. If you receive a communication of that type, do not reply, and contact Alterna directly for more information. 

Personal Information We Collect

We collect personal information in order to offer and provide financial products and services to you and to establish and serve you as our customer.  We collect personal information from you, for example, on an application form or through your ongoing interactions with us.  We may also collect personal information from third parties, such as credit reporting agencies, financial institutions, references, employers and other third party sources (such as government registries and public records).  Personal information we collect includes:

  • Name, address, telephone number(s), email address and other contact information.
  • Additional information for identity matching and credit check purposes, such as your occupation, name and contact information of your employer, assets, income, previous address, date of birth, social insurance number and other government issued identification.
  • Information about your dealings with and through us, such as account information, transaction and payment history and records relating to any inquiries or complaints.
  • Other information we may collect with your consent or as permitted or required by law.

How We Use Personal Information

We use personal information to provide requested financial products and services and to otherwise administer our business, including to:

  • Verify your identity and the accuracy and completeness of information you provide to us.
  • Assess your current and ongoing creditworthiness, financial situation and eligibility for products and services offer by us or our business partners.
  • Evaluate and process your application.
  • Open, administer and service your account(s) and provide and administer any requested products and services.
  • Detect and prevent fraud and other illegal or unauthorized activities.
  • Collect a debt or enforce an obligation owed to us.
  • Provide you with information about special offers, contests, or community events.
  • To meet legal, regulatory, self-regulatory, risk management, fraud prevention and security requirements, including checking your identity against money laundering, terrorist financing or similar watch lists established by regulatory agencies or similar bodies in Canada, the United States or in other countries.
  • Manage and assess our risks, operations and relationship with you, and to analyze your needs and the effectiveness of our marketing or customer service efforts.

Provision of social insurance number (SIN) is optional for non-income generating products or services and mandatory for income-generating products or services.  SIN, where provided, will be used for income tax reporting purposes (where applicable) and to identify you for credit matching purposes (if you have consented to such).  We may monitor and record telephone calls, internet live chats and email for quality assurance, training and record keeping purposes.  We may also use personal information for other purposes with your consent or as permitted or required by law.

When We Share Personal Information

We may disclose your personal information with your consent or in the following circumstances:

  • To credit bureaus, credit reporting agencies and to your current or future creditors for the purposes of maintaining your credit history and providing credit references.
  • To third parties as reasonably necessary to:
    • collect a debt or enforce an obligation to us;
    • detect and prevent fraud;
    • in connection with audits; and
    • for the purposes of meeting legal, regulatory, industry self-regulatory, risk management, fraud prevention and security requirements, which may include disclosures in compliance with suspicious activity reporting requirements under anti-terrorism, anti-money laundering and similar laws and regulations in Canada or in foreign countries.  
  • To Alterna Savings so that it may promote its products and services to you, if you have given your consent to such disclosure.
  • For other purposes as permitted or required by law.

Service Providers.  We may transfer personal information to outside agents or service providers (including affiliates acting in this capacity) ("service providers") that perform services on our behalf, for example plastic card issuers, cheque providers, plan trustees, call centre, mailing, billing, marketing, information technology and/or data hosting or processing services or similar services, or otherwise collect, use, disclose, store or process personal information on our behalf for the purposes described in this Privacy Policy. Some of these service providers may be located outside of Canada, including in the United States, and your personal information may be collected, used, disclosed, stored and processed outside of Canada for the purposes described in this Privacy Policy. While your personal information is located outside Canada it will be subject to applicable foreign legal requirements, which may include lawful requirements to disclose personal information to government or national security authorities in certain circumstances.

Business Transactions.  Personal information may be used and disclosed to parties connected with the proposed or actual financing, securitization, insuring, sale, assignment or other disposal of all or part of Alterna or our business or assets, for the purposes of evaluating and/or performing the proposed transaction.  Our assignees or successors may use and disclose your personal information for similar purposes as those described in this Privacy Policy.

Cookies

Cookies are small text files that a web server places on your computer or mobile device. We use two types of cookies on our website: session cookies and persistent cookies.

A session cookie is a cookie that is erased when you close your browser. Session cookies are stored in temporary memory and are not retained after your browser is closed. We use session cookies to record certain information from your browser including your Internet Protocol (IP) address, browser type, internet service provider and operating system.  We also use session cookies to identify the pages or features of our website that you visit or use, the websites that you visit before and after your visit to our website and the dates and times that you visit our website.  We use this information to remember you during your visit to our website and to improve our website, products and services.

A persistent cookie is stored on your computer or mobile device until it expires or is deleted.  We use persistent cookies to recognize you when you return to our website, to remember your preferences (such language or other settings) and to help block unauthorized attempts to access your personal information.

You may be able to set your web browser to delete or block cookies or to warn you before a cookie is sent.  Check the settings or help section of your web browser for more information.  Please note that if you delete or block certain cookies, you may not be able to benefit from all features of our website.

Your Consent

Alterna collects, uses and discloses your personal information with your consent, except as permitted or required by law.  We may be required or permitted under statute or regulation to collect, use or disclose personal information without your consent, for example to comply with a court order, to comply with local or federal regulations or a legally permitted inquiry by a government agency, or to collect a debt owed to us.

Consent to the collection, use and disclosure of personal information may be given in various ways.  Consent can be express (for example, orally, electronically or on a form you may sign describing the intended uses and disclosures of personal information) or implied (for example, when you provide information necessary for a service you have requested).  You may provide your consent in some circumstances where notice has been provided to you about our intentions with respect to your personal information and you have not withdrawn your consent for an identified purpose, such as by using an “opt out” option provided, if any.  Consent may be given by your authorized representative (such as a legal guardian or a person having a power of attorney).  Generally, by providing us with personal information, we will assume that you consent to our collection, use and disclosure of such information for the purposes identified or described in this Privacy Policy, if applicable, or otherwise at the time of collection. 

You may withdraw your consent to our collection, use and disclosure of personal information at any time, subject to contractual and legal restrictions and reasonable notice.  However, if you withdraw your consent to certain uses of your personal information, we may no longer be able to provide our products or services.

Unsubscribe from our communications.

Your Choices about Your Personal Information

If you would prefer not to receive promotional information from Alterna, please complete the Privacy Opt-out Form (PDF), contact us or visit any Alterna branch.  Please note that if you opt-out of promotional information from Alterna you will continue to receive information pertaining to regulatory and business matters (for example tax receipts and notices).

Safeguarding Your Information

We take reasonable steps to protect your personal information using physical, electronic or procedural security measures appropriate to the sensitivity of the information in our custody or control, which may include safeguards to protect against loss or theft, as well as unauthorized access, disclosure, copying, use or modification.  Authorized employees, agents and mandataries of Alterna who require access to your personal information in order to fulfil their job requirements will have access to your personal information. 

Access, Correction and Contacting Alterna Bank

We may establish a file of your personal information for the purposes described in this Privacy Policy, which will be maintained at your branch or on our secure servers (or those of a service provider).  If you wish to request access or correction of your personal information in our custody or control, you may write to our Privacy Officer at 319 McRae Avenue, 2nd floor, Ottawa, ON K1Z 0B9 or [email protected]. Your right to access or correct your personal information is subject to applicable legal restrictions.  We may take reasonable steps to verify your identity before granting access or making corrections. If you wish to make inquiries or complaints or have other concerns about our personal information practices, please contact your branch or the Contact Centre at:
Telephone:  1.866.560.0120
Fax: 1.866.560.0177
Email: [email protected]
Mail: Alterna Solution Officer, 319 McRae Avenue, 2nd floor, Ottawa, ON K1Z 0B9

Privacy Policy Changes

This Privacy Policy may be revised from time to time.  We will take reasonable steps to notify affected individuals of material changes to this Privacy Policy, including by posting the revised Privacy Policy on our website at www.alternabank.ca.  If you are concerned about how your personal information is used, you should check our website periodically to obtain a current copy of this Privacy Policy. Your continued provision of personal information or use of our services following any changes to this Privacy Policy constitutes your acceptance of any such changes.



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 a 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.



If it seems too good to be true, it probably is

Criminals want you to do all the work. First they earn your trust, then they manipulate you into giving them money. Sometimes they have you send them money directly from your hard-earned savings. They may ask you to cash phony cheques. Or they might deposit fraudulent money transfers or wires into your account.

Depending on the type of scam, criminals will use a variety of methods to target and approach a potential victim. For instance, they may use reputable websites and newspaper ads to appear legitimate. They might give you some money to earn your trust. They may pose as potential buyers, sellers, employers, business partners, roommates, relatives, friends, or romantic partners. Criminals have even posed as lottery organizations, charities, and diplomats. The many faces they assume are endless, and they will target anyone. Including you.

Each year thousands of Canadians fall victim to scams. While the scams can take a variety of forms, the end result is the always same: financial loss. Be vigilant - don’t fall prey to scam artists.

To learn more about these types of fraudulent activities, including the most recent scams targeting Canadians, please visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website, www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

Being aware that scams exist and educating yourself on how to avoid them is your best defense. Protect yourself by following these simple tips:

  • Never complete financial transactions on behalf of strangers or individuals that you don’t know well and haven’t met in person
  • Be wary of any offer that sounds too good to be true – chances are it is 
  • Be aware that you’re responsible for any deposits to your account. Cheques and other items deposited to your account can be reversed long after the item has cleared and/or the hold has been removed – forgeries have no time limitations
  • Be careful when mailing, wiring, or transferring funds. Don’t feel pressured to send funds until you’re completely confident the transaction is legitimate. Remember that regardless of how much verification you have, if you don’t actually know the individual, you could still end up being a victim of fraud
  • If you’re concerned about the legitimacy of a cheque, consider having the writer certify the funds by their financial institution
  • Thoroughly research potential job opportunities, lottery organizations, and business ventures before engaging with them – they may be scams. Please visit www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.cafor more information on current scams
  • Never give out personal information or credit card information over the telephone unless you’re certain of whom you’re talking to, like your insurance company, a government office or your bank. They should ask you for answers to security questions that only you or they would have access to and the answers for (only if you place the call yourself, otherwise if they have been hacked it doesn’t matter if it is an insurance company or government office or bank).

What to do if you suspect a scam:

Notify Alterna Bank immediately by visiting a branch or contacting us by phone at the following numbers:
Ottawa  613.560.0120
Gatineau  819.595.6980

Toll-free  1.866.560.0120

Report the incident to your local police department or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre using the following contact information:
Phone   1.888.495.8501
E-Mail:   [email protected]

Please visit www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca for more information on current scams.

How Alterna Bank protects you

We are committed to providing safe and secure banking experiences for our members. We continuously review our online security technology and processes to protect your personal and transactional information and provide secure online access to your accounts. While using our Online Banking site, the integrity of your account information is guaranteed. Security controls that we use across our online infrastructure include:

  • Multiple layers of security protecting networks and servers

    • Secure Socket Layer (SSL) Encryption   that establishes a secure connection between your computer and our web servers.

    • Digital certificates issued by trusted third parties to assure you that the site is protected.

    • Firewalls that block unauthorized access to our networks and servers

    • Intrusion detection and prevention that identifies any attempts to gain access to our networks and servers

    • Anti-virus protection that is continually updated to prevent viruses and  malware from entering our technology infrastructure

    • Anti-hacking  protection that scans for  hacking or diversionary code on our websites

    • Monitoring and taking action against malicious sites designed to look like Alterna Savings or Alterna Bank sites

  • Policies and standards that comply with regulatory and industry best practices 

  • Regular reviews of our security practices and technology updates.

  • Dedicated IT Security team

How to ensure your online safety

The Internet has changed the way financial institutions do business. Online banking provides convenient access to your financial information and the ability to perform transactions from almost anywhere: home, work or while traveling. Alterna recognizes that this is a great convenience to our members and we want to make the experience as easy and as safe as possible. While Alterna is doing our part to secure our end of your banking needs, we’re not able to control what is happening on your end of the transaction. Therefore each member has responsibilities associated with taking reasonable steps to ensure the security of your banking experience. An inadequately protected computer can be accessed by an unknown party or a virus in a very short period of time.

Banking Online

When banking online:

  1. We recommend you close your browser and restart it before proceeding to Alterna’s Online Banking site

  2. Check the address of any pages that ask for personal account information. Does the address begin with "https" or "http"? Any pages of a legitimate Internet banking website that ask members to enter account information will have “https” in the address and this indicates that the page is secure. 

  3. Look for, and click on, the padlock found in the address line or bottom right hand corner of most browser screens. If the page is truly legitimate, by clicking on the padlock you can view a page which lists the security certificate details for the site. A fraudulent site will not provide such details. 

  4. Never disclose your passwords and/or PIN. You should be the only person that knows this password/PIN. 

  5. Make it difficult for others to guess your password, by using a combination of letters and numbers in your password. 

  6. Always ensure that you are transacting on Alterna’s server by typing in Alterna’s web address yourself. www.alterna.ca, www.alternasavings.ca or www.alternabank.ca

  7. Do not leave your computer logged in to online banking. Always exit the Online Banking site using the logout button and close your browser if you step away from your computer. (Your browser may retain information you entered in the login screen and elsewhere until you exit the browser.) 

  8. Prevent the browser from caching (storing) the pages that you view by using the enhanced security feature located on the login screen. We strongly recommend that you use this feature if you are accessing the Online Banking site from a shared computer, such as at a friend's house or through a publicly-accessible computer, such as at a library or airport.

Requests for Information

Alterna Savings will never ask you to provide personal, login, or account information through unsolicited email or telephone calls Ignore or report any emails asking for this type of information. These types of requests are known as “phishing” and are a fraudulent attempt to gain personal and account information. If you are unsure of the authenticity of an email, delete it and call your branch to find out if an email was indeed distributed.

If you are contacted by anyone purporting to be an Alterna employee looking to obtain or confirm personal information, please call our TeleService Centre immediately at 1.877.560.0100.

Identity Theft

Fraudsters are constantly coming up with new ways to carry out identity theft. Identity theft can be the result of any number of actions. Some common methods include but are not limited to:

  1. Fraudulent telephone calls, letters or emails that ask for your personal banking information

  2. Theft of your purse, wallet, mail or any other personal information stolen 

  3. Rifling through your garbage 

  4. Posing as a landlord, potential employer, etc… 

  5. Social networking, as these sites enable criminals to identify personal information that can be used for fraud or identity theft.  Be cautious when using these sites.

Check out the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre for more information on Identity Theft at http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/

You can help protect yourself from identity theft by educating yourself on how it occurs, and taking appropriate action to reduce your chances of becoming a target.

  1. Sign credit cards when they arrive 

  2. Safely discard all personal materials. Consider purchasing a personal shredder for home use (a cross-cut shredder is most effective).

  3. Review your Alterna statements and credit card statements when they arrive.  Advise Alterna or the credit card company of any discrepancies immediately.

  4. Practice safe banking online. Protect your computer with a firewall and anti-virus software. 

  5. Memorize your PIN. Do not write it down or disclose it to anyone. 

  6. Never provide financial information such as personal passwords by phone or email. 

  7. Perform an annual credit check. An annual credit check is available free from the credit bureau, or through Equifax (www.econsumer.equifax.ca) or TransUnion (https://www.transunion.ca/). 

  8. Report any theft of personal information to your local police, Alterna, the credit bureau and any service providers that you use.

Protect your computer

Alterna has provided a secure channel for our members to communicate with us. Once the information has reached your computer, it's up to you to protect it. To protect your information, you should:

  1. Never leave your computer unattended while using our online banking services. 

  2. Secure or erase files stored on your computer by your browser so others cannot read them. Most browsers store information in the browser's cache to improve performance. These files remain there until erased. They can be erased using standard computer utilities or by using your browser feature to "empty" the cache.

  3. Disable automatic password-save features in the browsers and software you use to access the Internet. 

  4. Be careful when downloading software, especially free downloads as these can also contain malware that monitor your internet activity and capture everything you type on to your computer and send it to a collection site 

  5. Install and use a quality anti-virus program. As new viruses are created each and every day, be sure to update your anti-virus program often. Scan all download files, programs, disks and attachments and only accept files and programs from a trusted source. 

  6. Install and use a personal firewall on your computer to ensure others cannot access your computer through the Internet. 

  7. Ensure that you apply any security updates for your operating system and applications  

  8. Install an anti-spyware program and check your computer regularly.

  9. If you are accessing online banking from a work computer, check with your employer that safeguards are in place.


​We know you’re concerned about security. While we can ensure the safety of your banking information from our end, we thought it would be helpful to provide some tips from our in-house experts on steps you can take to protect information on your mobile devices from your end.

Password protect your device. Smartphone and tablet users should use the screen lock feature and make sure it is secured with a strong password or “draw to unlock” pattern. Never share your password with anyone, no matter who it is!

Set the number of password attempts. If someone tries to access your phone and incorrectly types your password multiple times consecutively, information on the device is automatically deleted.

AutoLock. Set your phone to lock automatically after a certain amount of time or when you holster it. You should set the Security Timeout feature to automatically lock your device after a length of inactive time, anywhere from 2 to 15 minutes. Each device will differ, so be sure to check your device’s settings.

Know where your devices are. When out and about, make sure your mobile devices remain nearby and are never left unattended, and be mindful where your device is at all times. It’s also a good idea to make sure you can differentiate your device from others that might be sitting nearby, by using a unique case or adding stickers. Report a lost, stolen, misused or compromised device immediately!

Note: If you’ve activated the QuickView feature on a mobile device that’s been lost or stolen, you can deactivate the feature by:

1. Logging on to online banking from a desktop or laptop computer

2. Clicking on Account Services and then on Mobile Banking App

3. Clicking Remove to the right of the device name under Registered. The phone will no longer display account balances on the screen without being logged in.

Keep software current. Keeping your device up-to-date with the latest updates, especially for the operating system, will address the latest security vulnerabilities as well as provide new features. Your manufacturer should have all the information you need on their website – the most popular ones are listed below.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Blackberry/RIM

Connect safely. Use your wireless data connection when you are on the go instead of public Wi-Fi connections for your smartphone, especially when transmitting sensitive information.

Never store sensitive information. Don’t store passwords or PIN codes on any mobile device that you use to access your online banking.

Always log off. Remember to hit the “log out” button when you’re done your banking! This will ensure that no residual data is left open on your device that may allow an attacker to reinitiate a banking session.

Use your bookmarks. If you access mobile banking through your mobile device’s browser, bookmark the URL and use that to login to your accounts. Never follow email links or links in text messages, unless you’re certain of their origin (like Interac e-Transfer).

When in doubt, don’t respond. Alterna will not request personal information by email or text. If you receive such requests, it’s a scam and you shouldn’t respond.

Don’t “jailbreak” or modify your device. Jailbreaking or modifying your device outside of the manufacturer’s recommendations makes your device vulnerable to malicious software and hacking.

Disable Bluetooth when not in use. The “always on” and “always discoverable” settings leave you vulnerable to hackers. Limit your exposure by disabling Bluetooth when it’s not connected to your Bluetooth device.

Delete text messages containing sensitive information. Regularly delete text messages containing financial or personal information.

Following these simple tips will help keep your information private, safe and secure while on-the-go.

Please note that Alterna Bank provides the above information for your personal use only, and will not be held liable for any loss or damage as a result. 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.


What is identity theft?

Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information without your knowledge or consent to commit a crime such as fraud or theft.

Why should I be concerned about identity theft?

Identity thieves steal key pieces of your personal information and use that information to impersonate you and commit crimes in your name. In addition to names, addresses and phone numbers, identity thieves look for social insurance numbers, driver’s license numbers, credit card and banking information, bank cards, calling cards, birth certificates and passports. They may physically steal these documents or may uncover your personal information in other ways, unbeknownst to you.
 
Identity thieves can manipulate your information and invade your personal and financial life. They can use stolen identities to go on spending sprees, open new bank accounts, divert mail, apply for loans, credit cards and social benefits, rent apartments, and even commit more serious crimes under your name.

How will I know if my identity has been stolen?

  • Bills and statements do not arrive when they should. They may have been stolen from the mailbox or someone has changed the mailing address
  • You start getting phone calls from collection agencies or creditors for an account you don’t have or that is up to date
  • Financial statements show withdrawals or transfers you didn’t make
  • A creditor calls to say you have been approved or denied credit that you haven’t applied for
  • You are denied credit for reasons that do not match your understanding of your financial position

How can I minimize the risk of identity theft?

While no one – unfortunately – can completely prevent identity theft, you can minimize your risk by managing your personal information wisely and cautiously. The following tips will help you guard your personal information, documents, computer and contents and be vigilant in protecting yourself and identity.

Guard your personal information and documents

  1. If any of your key documents (such as birth certificate, passport, driver’s license, credit card, bank card) are lost or stolen, notify the issuer immediately 
  2. Shred or destroy sensitive personal documents before tossing them into the garbage or recycling 
  3. Beware of mail, phone or internet promotions that ask for personal information 
  4. Cut up expired and unused credit and debit cards 
  5. Lock your household mailbox if possible 
  6. If you use ABMs or point-of-sale terminals, shield the entry of your PIN 
  7. Don’t leave personal information lying around at home, in your vehicle or at the office
  8. Find out how your employer ensures your personal information is private 
  9. Put only your name and address on your personal cheques
  10. Carry only the documents and cards you need

Keep your computer and its contents safe

Computer technology makes it easier for criminals to access personal and financial information. Thwart identity thieves by taking these precautions.

  1. Use a personal firewall 
  2. Disable file-sharing software to prevent unauthorized access to your computer 
  3. Install virus protection software and update it regularly 
  4. Be careful what you open. Email from strangers could contain viruses or programs to hijack your internet connection and damage your computer 
  5. Don’t send personal information via email 
  6. Make sure you truly delete all personal and confidential information before selling, recycling or discarding your computer. Even though you’ve deleted files from folders, remnants may still be on the hard drive. Use a secure hard drive overwrite utility to reduce this risk 
  7. Shop and bank safely online at websites that use encryption and secure pages for your information

Be vigilant

Stay on top of all the little details – this can make a big difference!

  1. Get a copy of your credit report once a year. By checking this information, you can spot debts that aren’t yours and see who has been asking about you
  2. Know when your credit card, financial statements and utility bills are due. If they don’t arrive when they should, contact the company 
  3. Pay attention to credit card expiry dates. If the replacement card doesn’t arrive, call the company 
  4. Keep credit card, debit card and ABM transaction records so you can match them to your statements 
  5. Review your bank and credit card statements and report any discrepancies immediately 
  6. Keep a list of names, account numbers and expiration dates of your cards in a secure place 
  7. Memorize all passwords and personal identification numbers 
  8. Keep your key documents secure. These include your driver’s license, birth certificate, passport, Social Insurance Card, citizenship or immigration documents
Please note that Alterna Bank provides the above information for your personal use only, and will not be held liable for any loss or damage as a result. 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.


What is the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act?

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) is United States (U.S.) legislation that was passed in 2010. It requires financial institutions worldwide to report accounts held by U.S. taxpayers and citizens.

The purpose of FATCA is to encourage better tax compliance by preventing US persons from using foreign banks and other financial organizations to avoid US taxation on their income and assets. A significant number of countries worldwide have signed inter-governmental agreements (IGAs) relating to FATCA compliance with the US government.

Canada's Department of Finance announced on February 5, 2014, that Canada and the United States signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) to improve international tax compliance and to implement the FATCA legislation. Canada implemented legislative changes that require Canadian financial institutions to be FATCA compliant under Canadian tax law. All Canadian financial institutions are required to examine their customer information and report to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) on specific accounts held by U.S. persons and businesses. This annual reporting is provided to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) through the CRA. The provisions of FATCA came into effect on July 1, 2014.

What does this mean for Alterna customers? 

As per Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) regulations, certain financial accounts held by U.S Persons must be identified and reported by Financial Institutions to Tax Authorities. In cases where we identify a specific personal or non-personal account may be affected by these requirements, we will contact the customer and ask for self-certification to determine whether the account holder or any controlling persons are U.S. persons.

Where can I find more information?

For more information on Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and how it might affect you, please contact your tax professional.

Further information about the FATCA is available on the following sites:

Common Reporting Standard (CRS)

What is the Common Reporting Standard?

The Common Reporting Standard (CRS) is a global standard developed by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to enable the exchange of tax-related information between participating countries. The automatic exchange of financial account information between tax administrations will be used in fighting tax evasion and to promote voluntary compliance with tax laws. Canada and more than a hundred other countries are committed to its implementation.

The Government of Canada passed laws to implement CRS in Canada in 2016. The CRS in Canada, effective July 1, 2017, requires that financial institutions identify customers with tax residency outside of Canada and the U.S. and report these customers and their account information to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), to be shared with the relevant jurisdiction in which the account holder resides for tax purposes.

What does this mean for Alterna customers?

During the account opening process, customers will be asked to declare their country or countries of tax residency. Existing customers may also be requested to declare their tax residency when making any changes to their personal information. In some circumstances, customers may be required to provide additional information or documentation.

Where can I find more information?

For more information regarding how Common Reporting Standard (CRS)  may affect you, please contact your tax professional.

Further information about CRS is available on the following sites:

What is the difference between FATCA and the CRS?

Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) are efforts to fight tax evasion and improve tax compliance. FATCA focuses on customers who are U.S. tax residents, whereas CRS applies to customers who are foreign tax residents, other than the U.S.

Please note that Alterna Bank provides the above information for your personal use only, and will not be held liable for any loss or damage as a result. 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.

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