Police issue warning for tax refund scam

OPP across the province are warning citizens about a new scam that was brought to their attention by a resident in western Ontario.

Grey County OPP Con­stable Steve Starr noted the timing of the scam coincides with the arrival of the 2008 tax packages in the mail. An email being circulated shows up in the intended victim’s email inbox as if it originated from the government of Canada, more specifically the Canada Revenue Agency. It is indicated to the person in receipt of the email that they are entitled to a tax refund and specifies the amount. 

The recipient is further advised they must provide certain information before the refund can be processed in the normal course of business through the applicable credit card.

They are invited to com­plete the questions within the email or as an alternative click on an embedded link that directs them to a counterfeit website posing as the official Canada Revenue Agency site.

The information requested includes, but may not be limit­ed to first name, last name, ad­dress, home phone number, mother’s maiden name: date of birth, social insurance number: credit and debit card number, expiration date, card veri­fication code, card signature and ATM personal identifica­tion number (PIN) and bank name.

The intent of the scam is to obtain personal information that can be used to steal from or defraud the victim. It is a commonly used tactic known as "phishing."

Starr said, “Do not respond and do not provide such infor­mation.”

Although graphics attribu­ta­ble to the Canada Revenue Agency have been copied or counterfeited to give the mes­sages and websites an official look, spelling errors and other inconsistencies give it away.

The website, for example, has a foreign URL address, not the "cra-arc.gc.ca" associated to the government of Canada. More information on this scam can be found on the Phone Busters website at www.­phone­busters.com. Officials there are well aware of it.