Personal Finance

question about EMT scams

  • Last Updated:
  • Aug 27th, 2021 10:01 am
[OP]
Newbie
Oct 30, 2020
59 posts
161 upvotes

question about EMT scams

Just read on the news about an EMT scam on Kijiji where fake cottage rentals were used to scam deposit money which victims paid thru e-transfer. According to the article, there were numerous victims, and they were unable to recover their money after they realize they were deceived and notified the authorities.

No doubt that apart from this scam, there are numerous others out there.

My question is why is the money unrecoverable? Since e-transfers go thru the major Canadian banks, it shouldn't be difficult to check which account the funds went into.

Futhermore, I've also heard of scams which worked the other way around. The way it works is the scammer would purchase some item from the victim by EMT and then cancels (or reverses) the EMT after taking physical possession of the item. Another variation is a currency exchange where the victim receives the EMT first and then hands over physical cash to the scammer who then cancels (or reverses) the EMT afterwards.

So that leads to my second question. Which is why scammers are able to cancel or reverse an EMT while victims are unable to?
7 replies
Deal Addict
User avatar
Aug 2, 2007
2056 posts
563 upvotes
Springfield
EMT is (generally) irreversible if you willfully sent it yourself, banks don’t really care if you have been scammed or not and will redirect you to police. However money sent from hacked accounts by a third party can be (and are) usually reversed.
Deal Addict
Mar 28, 2008
1729 posts
647 upvotes
ON
hopsoid wrote: EMT is (generally) irreversible if you willfully sent it yourself, banks don’t really care if you have been scammed or not and will redirect you to police. However money sent from hacked accounts by a third party can be (and are) usually reversed.
^ This is my understanding. They only care if the eTransfer itself is valid. The people knowingly gave the money from their accounts, so a perfectly valid payment.

Like with a debit card, if you made the payment it doesn't matter if the merchandise turns out defective. But if someone clones your debit card you may/should be able to get it reversed with some hassle.
Jr. Member
Apr 25, 2018
195 posts
221 upvotes
Ottawa, ON
whole point is that etransfers can be trusted as a form of payment. if you sell something and the buyer says you scammed him when you actually didn't... who is going to know who is truthful? it just turns into he said she said... then you get directed to small claims for a judge to decide
Deal Expert
User avatar
Dec 12, 2009
25186 posts
14916 upvotes
Toronto
Banks are not mediators in a payment dispute. They can't side with the buyer or the seller.
Koodo $40/6GB
Public Mobile $40/15GB, lot less with rewards
Fido $0.00/4GB+tablet
Tangerine Bank, EQ Bank, Simplii
Deal Fanatic
Aug 31, 2010
6732 posts
5283 upvotes
UrbanPoet wrote: They can reverse it if there are still funds in the receiver’s account.
Sure, the bank can reverse it, but they won't. Typically speaking, the bank will not reverse a willfully sent transfer whether or not the cash is in the receiver's account (would have to be same bank for them to know this, anyways). With debit, credit, etc., there are dispute processes in place and merchant agreements. The only way a bank gets involved in an e-transfer is if fraud is involved.

To OP, when the scammer buys something and pays via e-transfer, it's clawed back because it was sent fraudulently (ie from someone else's account) - not because they've reversed the transaction
Deal Fanatic
Mar 21, 2010
6575 posts
3726 upvotes
Toronto
KCMarkham wrote: My question is why is the money unrecoverable? Since e-transfers go thru the major Canadian banks, it shouldn't be difficult to check which account the funds went into.
Because these things are generally very slow. If I deliberately send money from my account to someone else (i.e., I was not hacked), the bank's not going to jump into action just because I tell them the deal went bad and I got scammed - otherwise e-transfers essentially become infinitely reversable because everyone would just say they got scammed or they didn't get the product or etc. etc. every time they want to get their money back. Then the banks would have to deal with the other bank's customer complaining that it wasn't a scam and the first customer's a liar and why did you take my money back. Banks just aren't likely to get involved in that.

If you want the bank to act, you probably need to get the police involved, and they probably need to investigate and decide that there probably was a scam and this is where the money went. For small-ish amounts (and probably per complainant, not "all people who lost money to cottage rental scams"), it's not going to be a high priority if at all, especially as in many cases their specialty doesn't include complex banking transactions (because the money would have been moved from the receiving account, possibly offshore, or maybe that account is stolen or set up with fake ID or whatever the case may be). And sometimes even if the police are involved, the banks just don't cooperate, or drag it out so long that it's meaningless if they eventually do cooperate. In the meantime, the money has long since gone and the evidence is getting weaker and weaker over time.

Top

Thread Information

There is currently 1 user viewing this thread. (0 members and 1 guest)