Ontario student warns about losing debit card after RBC refuses to refund $14,000

An Ontario student is warning people of the risk that comes with failing to report a lost debit card after $14,000 of fraudulent activity landed on her account and RBC refused to pay it.

Ontario college student Frances Ward said her bank card went missing last fall, but she never noticed because she mostly uses her phone to do mobile payments.

But someone either found her bank card or took it and they used it to deposit fake cheques with the first one being for about $2,000.

Frances’ mother Marilyn Ward also has her name on the account because she set it up with Frances.

Marilyn said the account does not have overdraft, so when the fraudulent cheques put the account into a negative position they should have never been allowed to be cashed.

“I don’t know why it was allowed to happen. The account does not have overdraft on it, so the first cheque went through and into overdraft and at the time it should have been stopped,” said Marilyn.

Over a week in September 2021 a series of fake cheques were cashed totaling about $13,000.

The Wards are with RBC and the bank conducted an investigation and found the card was not reported missing and whoever had the card had to have known the secret access code.

“They basically said you are responsible for the missing money because they said it is your card and your PIN (Personal Identification Number),” said Frances.

Frances said she doesn’t know how anyone could have known her PIN.

“I didn’t have it written down and it wasn’t my birthday,” said Frances.

RBC told the Wards in a letter that they have to reimburse the bank the amount of the fake cheques plus interest totaling $14,071 and that “we now require that you pay the total amount overdue.”

The Wards feel the bank should not have allowed the cheques to be cashed and said they shouldn’t be held accountable for the fraud.

“This is not money we have taken from the bank and we should not be held responsible,” said Frances.

When CTV News reached out to RBC, Edith Galinaitis, Director of Communications with RBC said, “We review client complaints regarding unauthorized transactions on a case-by-case basis. We also remind clients of the importance of protecting their PIN and client card and provide guidance on how to do that.”

“In all instances, we work with the client throughout the process and keep them informed, as we did in this case. We have shared our findings on this matter with our client, and explained the reasons for our decision, based on a careful review of the relevant facts.”

After CTV News contacted RBC, the Wards said they were told they would not have to repay the funds which came as great news to them.

“Now I’m so happy that this has been cleared up as it has been going on over nine or 10 months. It is such a relief,” said Marilyn.

It’s important to know where your debit and credit cards are and to report them missing right away if they’re lost or stolen. You should also check your bank accounts often to watch out for any suspicious activity and contact your bank or credit card company if you see anything that doesn’t seem right.  

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