Saskatoon's Affinity Credit Union target for debit scam

Saskatoon police recieve a number of calls from Affinity customers regarding debit charges
Reported by Bre McAdam
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A Saskatoon man says he was scammed after realizing $900 went missing from his Affinity Credit Union account over the weekend.

"I'm sure they got hundreds of people that could have lost a minimum of $500. That could be up to 50 grand up to half a million dollars," said Darryl Cherry, who believes he was the victim of a debit card scam targeting Affinity Credit Union customers in Saskatoon.

Cherry wasn't able to contact his branch manager because it was a Sunday, so he called police.

"And they said they were starting to get numerous phone calls, all from Credit Union customers."

Cherry wonders how this could happen with an apparent "fool-proof" chip card, and if his bank could have done anything to prevent it.

Affinity responds

Chief Operating Officer for Affinity Credit Union, Mark Lane confirms around 400 Affinity accounts in Saskatchewan were compromised because of a skimming operation in Saskatoon.

Lane assures all customers will get their money back within a day, but admits there is a price to pay when this kind of fraud happens.

"Whether it's in the follow up or the fraud teams that you have to have in place, the cost of operation relative to fraud impact everyone's bottom line," said Lane. 

When it comes to the effectiveness of chip technology in debit cards, Lane says all chip cards also have a magnetic stripe so that they can be used outside of Canada.

"Typically what happens is the information is obtained from the mag stripe," said Lane. "Regrettably all of the world has not adopted EMV technology. In Canada, there has been significant movement to the chip technology; that's not the case worldwide."

Click on the links below to see Affinity's tips on protecting sensitive information.

Edited by News Talk Radio's Michael Aynsley

First reported on Monday, May 16, 2011 at 11:43 a.m.