How Can I Protect Myself from CIBC Debit Fraud Through Online Purchases, Mail Order or Phone Purchases?

We have an old chequing account at CIBC which is useful for shifting money into and out of our CIBC Investor’s Edge brokerage accounts. For years, I had a simple “Convenience Card” which I could use at the CIBC bank machines to make deposits and withdrawals. A year or so ago, though, a replacement bank card came in the mail. It’s called an Advantage Debit Card and is branded with both the VISA and the Interac logos.

Why I Disabled the Interac Flash Payment Option on This CIBC Advantage Debit Card

When I first received the card, I saw it had the Interac Flash logo. That bothered me because I never make debit purchases from this bank account. I’m not quite sure whether the Flash and Tap cards are easier for fraudsters to get data from although I’ve read stray comments that suggest they may be somewhat vulnerable.

Given that I never intend to use this option, I asked the service representative at my CIBC branch to “turn off” the Tap option used for Interac Flash. According to the flyer that came with the card, you can also phone the main CIBC number and ask to have the Flash or Tap feature disabled.

So that seemed good and I tucked the card away to use at the bank machine.

Why You Should Read Those Letters That They Mail With Your Bank Card

Imagine my surprise when almost a year later, desperate for something to read within reach of the telephone while waiting on hold because my call “is important” I browsed through the cover letter that I got with my CIBC Advantage Debit Card.

The letter states
“Your CIBC Advantage Debit Card details (for example, card number and expiry date” may be used to make debit purchases online, by phone or by mail order without a PIN or the card being present.” “….you could be liable for losses.”

Say what?!

Don’t they need a PIN or at least the security number off of the back of the card to use it to make a debit purchase?

Nope.

What I Did to Protect Myself from Fraudulent Theft Using My CIBC Debit Card

I phoned in to CIBC to ask them how I could prevent purchases made
“online, by phone or by mail order” without a PIN or the card being present.

Unfortunately, they couldn’t simply turn off those three types of sales.

What they could do was block the use of the card for any and all purchases. In other words, remove the ability to use the card for debit of any kind other than a bank withdrawal from the bank machine or from the teller.

They did this by setting the limit for purchases to $0.00.

Because I will not be using this card as a debit card, I was happy to accept this solution.

What I’d Like CIBC and the Other Banks to Consider

That said, I’d like CIBC and all banks to consider just how weak the security is around this type of card. Given how they have invested heavily in a Chip and PIN technology, it seems bizarre to go back to having anyone who physically steals the card being able to make purchases using it. In fact, anyone who can “borrow” a card long enough to scribble down a few numbers could use it illegally. I know we are supposed to guard our cards endlessly, but I suspect many wallets get left unattended for a few minutes at a time, particularly in large secured offices.

In the meantime, if you have one of these cards and you don’t intend to use it for any debit purchases, consider turning it off. It’s one less thing to have to be paranoid about.


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Do you have more than one debit card? Have you got Tap, Flash and online debit enabled on all of them? What steps do you take to keep your money safe? Please share your experiences with a comment.

How Does Walmart Online Shopping and FlexDelivery with Free Pickup at Canada Post Work? A Review

A recent present I wanted to buy was an iPod case in a specific colour and pattern that was ideal for the person who wanted it. That specific Exian case was on the Staples, Walmart and Amazon websites but was not available for in store purchase at any of them. The only one offering free shipping for the item, at the time I made my purchase, was Walmart.ca. It offered free shipping to any nearby Canada Post location where I would have to go to pick it up, or free delivery to my home by Canada Post. It was more convenient, and sneaky, for me to pick the item up at a Canada Post location inside my nearby Shoppers Drug Mart. So I signed in to Great Canadian Rebates, clicked through to Walmart.ca, and ordered the iPod 5 case for free Flex Delivery to the Canada Post location for pickup: here’s how it went.

Remember You Can Get a Buck or Two Back On Many Purchases Via Great Canadian Rebates

As I’ve written before, if you are buying something online anyway, if you start your shopping expedition by signing into your account at GreatCanadian Rebates.ca and then clicking through to your store of choice, you can often get 0.5-4% of your purchase price back in amazon.ca gift certificates.

So  I started my shopping at greatcanadianrebates.ca. I signed in using my email address and password, then I selected Walmart.ca from the QuickLinks drop-down list.

That took my to the Walmart.ca website.

How Easy Is It to Online Shop at Walmart.ca?

I used Walmart’s search box to find the iPod cover easily. In the text box labelled “What product are you looking for?” I typed iPod 5 and clicked on the magnifying glass icon.

The case I was looking for came up on the first search page. I clicked on it, then clicked on the Add to Cart button.

The sales process was quite straight forward.

I typed in my email address and clicked the Next button.

I clicked to select Pick up at Walmart Grab& Go or Canada Post Office.

I typed in my First and Last Name and the postal code to find a pickup location nearby.

I clicked to select the nearest Shoppers Drug Mart which has a Post Office inside.

I clicked the Next button.

After reviewing the order and the cost, which included no cost shipping, I selected my credit card type, and entered my credit card data.

I typed in my billing name, address and phone number.

Then I clicked on the Place Order button.

They emailed my receipt with a confirmation number immediately.

How Did the Canada Post FlexDelivery Free Parcel Pickup Service Work? A Review

The next day, I received a Canada Post email advising me that my order had been received for shipping and providing me with a tracking number.

Although the item was sent by “expedited” mail, I notice that it was received into a Canada Post facility on a Friday afternoon and did not move again till Monday morning.

Two days before the “expected delivery date” I was advised by email that my item was ready for pickup at my nearby Shoppers Drug Mart.

As advised, I took a piece of government issued photo I.D. with me and walked over to the Post Office. (The email delivery notification did provide me with a letter I could use to authorize someone else to pickup the item if I wished.)

Somewhat to my surprise, given the large number of parcels they were managing that week, my Canada Post outlet had no trouble finding the package. I did have to show my id, not just the notification letter, but after that the envelope was in my hand and I was wandering through the aisles trying to remember if we needed any toothpaste or President’s Choice items.

Overall, I’d rank the FlexDelivery service as excellent. One delivery isn’t really a big test but it was a small package during a very busy time of year and it arrived early and undamaged.

I’d try it again.

UPDATE: In July 2016 Walmart is no longer listed as a store from which I can buy stuff through Great Canadian Rebates. I hope they will be available again in the future!


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Have you tried this “almost home delivery” service to your nearest Canada Post outlet? Did it work out ok or did you resolve to never try it again? Please share your experience with a comment.