New government benefit scams expected during tax season in Mississauga, Brampton, Hamilton and beyond

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Published April 28, 2023 at 8:44 am

fraud canada

During tax season, many residents find they eligible for credits and benefits — and scammers may try and trick people into giving up banking information.

The Hamilton Police Service sent out a warning today (April 28) from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre to be aware of these scams.

“Every time a new government benefit is announced, expect a fraudulent email or text message asking you to click on a link to accept the funds,” the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre said in a tweet. “This is a scam and a common PHISHING technique. Don’t click on links!”

Often the fraudster will send a text message informing the recipient that they are eligible for a benefit.

A typical message goes like this: “The province of Ontario has sent you your catch up payment ranging between $200 and $250 by INTERACT-Transfer. Reply Y to deposit.”

The catch up payment is a real credit from the province. The payments were available to parents to help their child get back on track during the 2022–23 school year.

But there is a warning on the provincial website of emerging scams from this new benefit.

“The Government of Ontario will not contact you through text message,” the province’s website warns. “If you receive a text message regarding Catch Up Payments that includes a hyperlink, do not click the link. It’s a scam.”

And this is only one variation of the scam. There are many tax credits and benefits such as the GST/HST credit, Canada Dental Benefit, and Climate action incentive payment.

New benefits include the Multigenerational Home Renovation Tax Credit, and the Ontario Seniors Care at Home Tax Credit.

Text scams related to tax benefits and credits are known as phishing.

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre offers these tips:

  • Don’t click on links from unsolicited messages
  • Don’t download attachments from unsolicited messages
  • Watch for spelling mistakes
  • Don’t trust a message just because the email address looks legitimate; fraudsters can spoof the address
  • Beware of messages claiming to be from the Government of Canada or a law enforcement agency; they will never contact you to offer funds via email or e-transfer

For more information on phishing and to report a scam, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website.

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