Tax season is around the corner and Canadians are preparing to file their yearly taxes with the Canadian Revenue Agency. This year, however, Canadians are being alerted to two forms of cyber fraud that are surfacing across the country, causing individuals to fall victim to identity theft and monetary loss.
Since 2013, cyber crime has risen in regards to obtaining personal information from those filing their taxes. This year, cyber criminals are again attempting to trick users into disclosing personal data and passwords. Emails, that appear to be from the Canadian Revenue Agency, are stating that individuals have failed to file their taxes or are owing for overdue fees. Users are then directed to submit information on a website designed to mimic the CRA’s.
Here are a few ways to help determine if a website or email is fake. First, look at the URL of the website. If it does not match that of the CRA, please report it to officials. Scammers will attempt to mimic a website using logos and official verbiage, but the text that appears in a URL is a tell-tale sign that a site may be fake. Secondly, if you receive an email from the CRA, confirm that the email has been sent by a member of the Canadian government. If the email sender’s address does not appear to be official, save the email and contact the authorities.
Canadians across the country have lost thousands of dollars due to cyber criminals posing as the Canadian Revenue Agency. According to an article released by the London Free Press, “last year, 39 people in Southwestern Ontario reported falling victim to the scam, losing $143,135.” This year, however, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre is stating that cyber criminals are retargeting victims, promising that they will be able to get their money back if they, “pay a one-time, five per cent administration fee.” Canadians are being asked to question these emails and report them to police, as they have the potential to lose an additional sum of money.
Incidents of cyber fraud are unfortunately a common occurrence in today’s digital age. As more and more information is shared online, users have to be aware of the many ways that cyber criminals will try to obtain personal data. If you suspect that you have been a victim of cyber fraud, please contact your local police and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
Tax season can be a busy time of year, but take the time to be diligent in assessing who you are giving your personal data to and why. Visit the Canadian Revenue Agency’s website for more information and updates as tax season approaches.