A diligent client recently sent us an email purporting to come from the Canada Revenue Agency advising him of a refund available to him of $189.82. It all looked very proper until you looked more carefully.
First CRA would not make a tax request or notification by email, only by written letter, addressed to your home address and referring to your social insurance number. Second, after saying the taxpayer has a right to receive a refund, it asked him to send in the refund! Third, it was written in French to an English speaking tax filer. And finally, it made a number of grammatical errors.
So the idea was to get you to send in a check, not get one as a refund. Or to provide them with your address and social insurance number, even worse. And in a time of financial need, who wouldn’t want to receive a refund from the government!
By now, we are all getting familiar with the “Nigerian government official” who can share a one million dollar award with you if you will only advance him some expense money, or the Irish potential inheritance which may be available to you if you share some proof of your identity with them (to a New Jersey-based website believe it or not!)
There are a thousand different ways that fraudsters are reaching out for our personal data or financial contributions. And these include false charity requests. Canada is a leader in this new kind of armchair burglary by computer. It is apparently very lucrative, and a lot easier and safer than taking a gun to rob a bank.
We are all vulnerable to this type of scam, because lets face it, who wants to walk away from a possible windfall, when all you have to do is reach out and seize it.
Fraud costs Canadians and our banks billions of dollars each year. And if it costs your bank, you can be sure it will be charged back to you and I as higher bank interest and fees. But even worse is the time and annoyance it will cost you to change your identity information and bank/credit cards when such an intrusion takes place.
So instead we have to install better and more costly computer security controls, and be very diligent ourselves, every minute of the day. Makes me furious! What about you?
Click here to see what CRA has to say.