Canada Revenue Agency warns of text message phishing scam
Many people are reporting having received a scam text message claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency. March 24, 2015. (Twitter/@Smitty_Mark)
Published Wednesday, March 25, 2015 9:14AM EDT
The Canada Revenue Agency has issued a warning about a scam that lures victims with a text message that the agency is sending them money via an INTERAC e-transfer.
Police and the CRA became aware of the scam after Canadians who received the message took to social media to warn others.
The text suggests that the CRA has sent the e-transfer, and then asks the recipient to click a link “to deposit your income tax return.”
Recipients are then asked for personal information, such as social insurance numbers, credit card and bank account information, and passport numbers.
The CRA says the text is a phishing scam, where scammers seek personal information via electronic messages, and recipients should delete it immediately.
“Canadians are reminded that the CRA will only send payments by direct deposit or by cheque, never by email money transfer,” reads an alert on the agency’s website.
So far, RCMP and municipal police agencies across B.C. are warning residents about the scam. RCMP headquarters in Ottawa is looking into a request from CTVNews.ca to determine if the scam is targeting Canadians nationwide.
Bby residents report a scam involving a text from Canada Revenue. Go with your gut. If it seems fishy it is.See tips. http://t.co/RN7jX0Oa22— Burnaby RCMP (@BurnabyRCMP) March 24, 2015
Phishing scams that involve the CRA are not new, and the agency has warned for years of fraudulent emails, phone calls and even letters that seek victims’ personal information.
The agency says it would never request personal information via email.
Anyone who receives these kinds of messages should ask themselves the following questions:
- Am I expecting additional money from the CRA?
- Does this sound too good to be true?
- Is the requester asking for information I would not include with my tax return?
- Is the requester asking for information I know the CRA already has on file for me?
- How did the requester get my email address?
- Am I confident I know who is asking for the information?
Meanwhile, TD Bank is also warning that a text message telling recipients that their bank account has been suspended is also a scam.
A user is told to click a link to “unlock” their account, and then is asked for personal information. TD Bank spokesperson Jeff Meerman told CTV Vancouver that anyone who has concerns about a scam can call 866-222-3456 or email email@example.com.
Anyone who suspects they have become a victim of fraud can also call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 888-495-8501.