Canadian officials warn of 'legitimate' looking CRA scam amid tax season
If you've recently received a message to claim your Climate Action Incentive Payment, make sure you don't fall victim to the popular scam.
If you have received a suspicious text that looks like it's from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), it’s likely a dangerous scam.
With Canadians in the thick of tax season, fraudsters are getting more and more sophisticated with their techniques. Canadians have reported that they received a text message asking them to click on a link to receive their “Climate Action Incentive Payment.”
These dangerous text messages claim to be from the CRA, and even include a real phone number from the agency in an attempt to make the message seem more legitimate.
“The alert is a typical CRA phishing text message,” said Jeff Horncastle, Acting Client and Communications Outreach Officer at the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC), to Yahoo Canada.
“But as mentioned, it does include the legitimate CRA phone number in order to make it appear legitimate.”
The CAFC put out a tweet warning the public against this on March 31, with a copy of the text message that is circulating. The organization is now asking the public to ignore and delete these dangerous messages, while they want everyone to know that the government of Canada will never send funds by email or text.
🚨#SCAM ALERT!🚨 We're getting reports of phishing text messages claiming to be from the CRA which include a real CRA phone number to make it look legitimate. If you get a text asking you to click on a link, it's a scam! For more: https://t.co/TZT4cE6Z38 #FPM2023 #BeScamSmart pic.twitter.com/nfp3ZswinY
— Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (@canantifraud) March 31, 2023
The tweet is sparking conversation among users, who are concerned about the messages.
Some claim that they have received this exact message multiple times. Others claim that they receive similar messages all the time, yet choose to ignore them.
Well, if the CRA is texting you, it's probably too good to be true! And if it sounds fishy, it's definitely phishy! 😂 Stay sharp out there, folks!
— 0x1ee7 (@0x1ee7) March 31, 2023
CRA open Monday to Friday 8 am to 8 pm. Another red flag 🤣
— nitun das (@Nitun89) March 31, 2023
i got this last week 5 phone calls claiming to be CRA.
— Luis. 🇨🇺🇨🇦🏳️🌈 (@lrpbyzard) April 1, 2023
I get these all the time. I don't even cluck on them anymore. I just delete the text.
— 𝐻𝑒𝓇𝑀𝓊𝓈𝒾𝓃𝑔𝓈 💬 (@flutterpolitely) March 31, 2023
Why would anyone think the cra texts? Maybe they should be a victim
— Dust Bin Dude 🚛🗑👷♂️ (@MichaelH3125) March 31, 2023
I've gotten this 3 times this week. pic.twitter.com/wUZO9XsSRf
— David Mazzu (@shpins) March 31, 2023
Phishing is when "criminals use tactics to trick you into giving your personal information or clicking on links," according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
It can come in the form of email and website name spoofing, by causing a sense of urgency, offering refunds or money, or even by simply sending "harmless" requests to click links, download attachments or fill out online forms.
Along with impersonating government departments and agencies, like the CRA, scammers can pose as banks, online subscription services and other reputable businesses. Oftentimes they use current events as lures.
Unfortunately, many could fall victim to these dangerous messages, so it is important to stay cautious when clicking on links and sharing personal information.
“There is no specific age category more prone to becoming a victim,” Horncastle said.
They want the public to protect themselves from phishing by making sure that if you receive an unsolicited email or text asking you to click a link or open an attachment — simply don’t do it.