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Did you get a text with your SIN that claims to be from Canada Revenue Agency? It’s a scam

Tax season is here and with it, a new scam.

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre says the scam involves a text message, containing a person’s name and personal information, that appears to come from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). 

“We received reports of a text message claiming to be from the CRA which actually included the target or the victim’s social insurance number, advising that there is a payment due and requesting payment be sent to a provided phone number in the text message,” Jeff Horncastle, planning communications outreach officer at the anti-fraud centre, told CBC News.

Horncastle said it’s believed fraudsters are capitalizing on anyone who was previously involved in a data breach.

“They’re actually utilizing that information as a tool to try and steal money from the victim,” he said. “The important thing to remember with this is that it’s a reminder that if you have been a victim of identity theft in the past, you want to make sure that you’re following the steps to prevent yourself from being a victim of identity fraud.”

The agency won’t request payment or sending funds through text message, Horncastle said.

“We always advise that if you get an e-mail and you’re not sure, always go a step further. Look up the official phone number for, in this case, the Canada Revenue Agency and confirm with them before clicking on a link which can infect your device or providing personal information.” 

The same goes for phone calls, he added. 

The new tax text scam contains victim's name and social insurance number.
The Canadian Revenue Agency is warning of a new tax scam that residents have been receiving via text message. (Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre/X/@canantifraud)

“Even if the official CRA phone number shows up on your call display, you should be making sure, letting them know you’ll call them back. Look up the official phone number and make that outgoing call to them directly to confirm.”

Receiving scam texts or phone calls isn’t anything new for many people, but advanced technology now available to fraudsters make those scams more believable. 

As the internet and social media evolve, Horncastle said, it’s easier to become a victim of fraud. 

“Twenty years ago, fraudsters would have had to manually dial phone numbers. Now, they have the ability to automatically dial combinations of phone numbers. They don’t know who they’re calling in most cases but they can target so many people.”

If you receive one of the scam text messages, it’s advised you report it to local police and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, through their website or at 1-888-495-8501.

Anti-Fraud Prevention Month

Friday marked the start of the 20th edition of Anti-Fraud Prevention Month, an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) initiative. 

This year’s campaign focuses on how fraud has evolved over the last two decades. 

In a news release, the OPP said the goal is to empower Canadians with information, tools and strategies to recognize, reject and report fraud. 

“Fraud losses within Ontario and throughout Canada continue to rise to unprecedented levels, which devastates the lives of our friends, colleagues, family members and businesses,” said OPP Det.-Supt. Mike Bickerton, also director of financial crime services.

Acting Det.-Insp. Stephen Buchanan said in the release that cases of fraud in Ontario “are among the highest in the country.”

“Please take the time to spread the word on fraud awareness. Educate your loves ones and those around you on how to identify indicators of fraud,” Buchanan said.

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