Ontario tax scam hits Mississauga and Brampton


Published November 22, 2022 at 8:48 am

ontario tax service scam
Photo by John Tuesday

A text scam is circulating in the Mississauga and Brampton area.

The scam is similar to a fraud where the sender claims to be from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

The scammers send a message to your phone or tablet offering a fake refund, according to the CRA.

Scammers will send a message from a fake number. They will claim to be the CRA and offer a refund, encouraging you to click on a link provided in their message, the CRA adds.

Once you click on the link, you may be asked for personal information such as your social insurance number, date of birth, name, and online banking information to accept the refund by e-transfer.

In newer scams, the message could even contain some of your personal information including your social insurance number as an extra tool to convince you that the message is legitimate, according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

In this recent scam now circulating, the scammers say they are from the Ontario Tax Service, which isn’t a government body.

But phishing campaigns often attempt to look like trusted government organizations (federal, provincial and municipal) like the Canadian Revenue Agency, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and Canada Border Services Agency, to compel victims to share personal information or click a link, the Anti-Fraud Centre notes.

In this scam, the message claims you have money coming and you should respond with a Y to confirm and see the full amount.

ontario tax service scam

Government agencies never send text messages for refunds and the Anti-Fraud Centre says people shouldn’t engage with the sender.

Responding to this type of message could lead to identity fraud, ransomware (gaining access to a network or device and encrypting data to make either the system or data inaccessible to users), and spear phishing (scammers pretending to be from legitimate sources to convince businesses or individuals to send them money).

While many people are savvy and know to ignore this type of message, many still fall prey. According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, $362.7 million has been lost to fraud so far in 2022.

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