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.
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:
We use personal information to provide requested financial products and services and to otherwise administer our business, including to:
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.
We may disclose your personal information with your consent or in the following circumstances:
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.
We may use some technologies (i.e., pixel, web-technologies) to tell us whether our advertising, operational communications and marketing messages have been accessed. We may use this information for determining which of our communications, advertising and marketing messages are effective or interesting to you.
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.
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.
The length of time Alterna keeps your information will vary depending on the product or service and the type of information we have. We keep your information for as long as we reasonably need it for customer service, legal or reasonable business purposes. For these reasons, we keep some of your information beyond the end of your relationship with us. When your information is no longer required, we securely destroy it.
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).
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.
Mail: Alterna Solution Officer, 319 McRae Avenue, 2nd floor, Ottawa, ON K1Z 0B9
You may also contact Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Investigations and Inquiries Branch any time at:
30 Victoria Street
Gatineau, Quebec, K1A 1H3
FOR GENERAL INQUIRIES:
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
Protect your card
Protect your account
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:
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:
What to do if you suspect a scam:
Notify Alterna Bank immediately:
Report the incident to your local police department or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre using the following contact information:
Please visit www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca for more information on current scams.
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.
When banking online:
We recommend you close your browser and restart it before proceeding to Alterna’s Online Banking site
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.
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.
Never disclose your passwords and/or PIN. You should be the only person that knows this password/PIN.
Make it difficult for others to guess your password, by using a combination of letters and numbers in your password.
Always ensure that you are transacting on Alterna’s server by typing in Alterna’s web address yourself. www.alternabank.ca
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.)
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.
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.
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:
Fraudulent telephone calls, letters or emails that ask for your personal banking information
Theft of your purse, wallet, mail or any other personal information stolen
Rifling through your garbage
Posing as a landlord, potential employer, etc…
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.
Sign credit cards when they arrive
Safely discard all personal materials. Consider purchasing a personal shredder for home use (a cross-cut shredder is most effective).
Review your Alterna statements and credit card statements when they arrive. Advise Alterna or the credit card company of any discrepancies immediately.
Practice safe banking online. Protect your computer with a firewall and anti-virus software.
Memorize your PIN. Do not write it down or disclose it to anyone.
Never provide financial information such as personal passwords by phone or email.
Report any theft of personal information to your local police, Alterna, the credit bureau and any service providers that you use.
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:
Never leave your computer unattended while using our online banking services.
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.
Disable automatic password-save features in the browsers and software you use to access the Internet.
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
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.
Install and use a personal firewall on your computer to ensure others cannot access your computer through the Internet.
Ensure that you apply any security updates for your operating system and applications
Install an anti-spyware program and check your computer regularly.
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.
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.
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?
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
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.
Stay on top of all the little details – this can make a big difference!
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:
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.