Payment scam targets people across Ontario


Published December 29, 2023 at 8:02 am

payment scam ontario
Photo: Daria Nepriakhina

A payment scam is circulating in Mississauga and across Ontario.

The scam starts with a text message informing the recipient they are getting holdings payment.

The person is prompted to click a link to collect the payment and advised the money is on its way.

“Remember to stash your holdings by January 1, 2024…” a recent scam text message reads.

payment scam ontario

A follow-up message urges the person to act.

“sending your funds now,” it reads.

payment scam ontario

This is a type of phishing scam.

Common tactics in phishing scams include offers of refunds or money, urgency, email and website name spoofing, and seemingly “harmless” requests to click links, download attachments or fill out forms online, according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

The sender will say they are from a bank, a business, an online subscription service such as Netflix, or a government agency.

If you click on the link, your device may be infected with a virus or malware. Or you may be prompted to fill out an online form.

A variation of phishing scams are messages with minimal text that encourage you to click on links or download attachments, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre notes.

“The message may claim that you need to update your account or that your tax refund is ready,” the centre notes. “Whatever the message is, it’s an attempt to trick you into providing your personal or financial information.”

Here are the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre tips for avoiding this type of scam:

  • 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 about phishing scams and how to report them, see the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website here.

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