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November 26th, 2020

Tangerine Dips Into Client's TFSA Without Notifying Him

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Written by Emily Prum


               Not many people are aware of the fine print written within the contracts, and agreements written by the banks. For Justin Smith, this caused much of an issue when it came to his assets held with Tangerine. 


The Job Scam

Justin Smith was looking for a new job, upon his search he stumbled upon a hiring that seemed to be from Sobeys. He did his research on the job, the hiring managers; even finding their profiles on LinkedIn. He heard back from the hiring manager who sent him the job offer as well as a cheque of $3495 to deposit into his account to go towards purchasing a desk, laptop along with other office supplies.

Once depositing the cheque, it went through immediately. With the money Smith already had in his account, along with the cheque amount, he had over $4000 in his bank account. They had told Smith to purchase his office supplies from a specific company and once completed, they sent invoice to Smith, asking his to transfer $3000 to them, which Smith did. Little did Smith know, the cheque he received from his “employer” and the company to which he purchased his office supplies we not legitimate.

The next day after making his purchase, Smith’s “employer” then asked him to transfer over another $3500 to purchase a desk, this then caused him to suspect this new employer.

“At this point, I became suspicious because no one spends that kind of money on a desk,” he said. “I called up Tangerine and I said ‘OK, I deposited a cheque yesterday, you guys let me send the money. I’m concerned that this cheque is going to bounce.'”  

The cheque ended up bouncing from Justin Smith’s account, but the scammers had already accepted the $3000 that Smith had previously sent over. Due to this, the bank had made a bad loan. In order to make up for the money that was missing, Tangerine had decided to withdraw the money out of Smith’s TFSA. The missing money from Smith’s TFSA caught him by surprise, as he believed that his money in the TFSA was untouchable since it was a government account. 

Due to this, Justin had filed two letters of complaint to Tangerine, to which their response was that they were not responsible for his loss and he should reach out to the police for help. Only after being contacted by the CBC’s Go Public Team did Tangerine issue an apology and agreed to refund the $3000 to smith and pay $250 for a credit monitoring service.


In conclusion, it is always a good idea to divide up your assets between different financial institutions. 

What Justin Smith was not aware of is that, the banks will have access to all assets held within their institution, as written in the fine print. 

For example, if your investments are held with a financial advisor, they are able to help protect your money from the banks. The divisions of assets can keep banks from dipping in to your other accounts without your knowledge.  


D. Buckner, “Toronto victim of job scam shocked that bank didn’t protect his account | CBC News,” CBCnews, 23-Nov-2020. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 24-Nov-2020].



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