Skip Links

Credit union staff and members continuing to be victimized by common scams

September 28, 2017

Sharon Varney, Manager, CUOCPI and Senior Manager, Compliance, Standards & Records, Canadian Credit Union Association, Canadian Credit Union Association

While criminals continuously attempt to advance technological methods to defraud victims, many credit union members continue to be victimized by some of the less sophisticated scams. Information posted to the Credit Union Office for Crime Prevention and Investigation’s (CUOCPI) Secure Website currently reports the following scams as the most common:

Overpayment scams: commonly perpetrated on online classified advertising services such as Kijiji, Ebay or Craigslist. This type of scam occurs when the seller receives payment via a cheque in an amount in excess of the amount originally agreed to in the transaction. They are then asked to deposit the cheque and return the excess funds back to the originator by wire transfer. Often the cheque sent to the seller originates from an unrelated business or corporation and/or from another province; the reasoning behind the overpayment is explained to cover courier fees, taxes or even simple human error on the sender’s part.

Quick change scams: perpetrated in branch while negotiating with the Member Services Representative (MSR). This type of scam occurs when the perpetrator breaks down large bills for small ones and before the MSR can give back the bills the perpetrator engages in a speedy series of money exchanges, breaking down bills or requesting to convert the funds to USD, thereby confusing the MSR. In the confusion the perpetrator advises the MSR much money to give back thus short changing the transaction.

When suspicious of such behavior, recommended practices include:

  • Finish one transaction before dealing with the next.
  • Count the funds before the customer takes the money off the counter.
  • Don’t be afraid to advise the customer that you made a mistake and start again.
Credit unions must continue to be diligent in ensuring that staff and members are educated about fraud mitigation and common scams currently in circulation.

For membership inquiries or additional information on CUOCPI, please contact Sharon Varney, Manager, CUOCPI, at (416) 232-3479 or