When Karen Lee got hit with $157 in DoorDash charges to her TD debit card in late December, she knew immediately she was a victim of fraud.
“I don’t have a DoorDash account and I never heard of them,” said Lee, who lives in French Creek, a small community on Vancouver Island. “I feel violated.”
DoorDash, a food delivery service that has grown in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic, doesn’t serve Lee’s region. Even so, Lee said when she went to her local TD Canada Trust branch to deal with the issue, she met other customers who said they were victims of the same fraud.
It’s unclear who is behind the scam, which isn’t confined to one region. CBC News interviewed six TD customers from three different provinces who said they were victims of unauthorized DoorDash debit card charges. Each person said they don’t have a DoorDash account and have never used the service.
After the incident was announced today, 11 other people contacted CBC News to say they are in the same situation.
A common complaint among those who said they were victims was that they experienced long waits — often around a month or longer — to get their money back.
Lee said she got reimbursed on Tuesday — a month after she reported the fraud.
“It’s too long,” she said. “I’m a pensioner. You know, you’re having a limited income.”
Over the years, banks have enhanced their debit cards so customers can use them not only to withdraw cash at an ATM but also to make online purchases, much like a credit card.
That feature makes debit cards similarly vulnerable to cyber fraud, said Toronto-based cybersecurity expert Ritesh Kotak.
He said fraudsters can sometimes infiltrate a person’s debit card through nefarious methods such as mail theft, phishing emails or even a simple phone scam.
Another problem is that, unlike with credit cards, debit card transactions withdraw money from your bank account. That means if you get a fraudulent charge, you’re out of pocket until the matter is resolved.
TD told CBC News it has investigated the fraud allegations and the issue has been resolved. Meanwhile, DoorDash said it is working closely with TD “to help support and facilitate refunds.”
Typically, bank customers caught up in a debit card scam will be reimbursed if it’s determined someone fraudulently used their account.
Kotak said one way to guard against fraudulent charges is to ask your bank to block your debit card’s online purchasing feature by setting the card’s limit for online transactions to zero.
Kotak says when people receive debit cards, they should be able to choose whether they want the online purchase option turned on.
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