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Do You Know How to Protect Yourself Against SMS Phishing?

May 30, 2020
Do You Know How to Protect Yourself Against SMS Phishing?

Cybercriminals are increasingly using the name of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to trick you into disclosing your personal and financial information, especially during tax season.

Be careful when you answer text messages and phone calls! Scammers mislead their victims by sending fraudulent messages designed to trigger an immediate response. With the COVID-19 crisis, many of them could trick you by taking advantage of your vulnerability. The most common types of scams used by cybercriminals are email phishing, phone phishing and text message phishing better known as SMS phishing.

Do you know how to defend yourself against phishing? Here are some examples and tips to help you protect yourself!

What is phishing?

Phishing is a type of scam used by cybercriminals to obtain confidential information in order to steal their victims’ identity.

Most commonly-used forms of phishing

Email phishing

You receive an email from a well-known institution that prompts you to change your password. The email is designed to get you to:

  • Click on a link to a fraudulent website;
  • Open an attachment that could infect your device with malicious software, also known as malware.
Text message or SMS phishing

You receive a text message that seems to have been sent by the CRA with instructions on how to get your tax refund. The purpose of the text message is to get you to click on a link or call a phone number. In exchange, you will be asked to give your personal information (such as your full name, social insurance number, etc.).

Phone phishing

To gain your trust, cybercriminals use a fake identity when contacting you. On the phone, they often pretend to be police officers, employees of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) CRA agents, to name but a few!

Here are some examples of the most common types of phone phishing:

  • An IT technician calls to warn you about a virus infection on your computer;
  • A travel agent calls to tell you that you’ve won a vacation;
  • The caller tells you that you have unpaid taxes that must be paid immediately or you will be fined or an arrest warrant will be issued.

Some scammers even go so far as to change the caller ID so you think the call is from a local or trusted business.

You should know that the CRA will never ask for personal information over the phone or by email. Additionally, under no circumstances will the CRA threaten to arrest you or ask you to make a payment by Interac or other transfer.

Some prevention tips

  • As soon as the call seems suspicious or unprofessional, hang up immediately;
  • Make sure you know the sender;
  • Never click on a link in a text message or email that looks like it came from the CRA;
  • If you mistakenly click on the link, do not fill in any of the fields, do not engage in any interaction;
  • If you made a payment or are a victim of fraud, contact your financial institution and the police to report the event.

You can always check if a request is authentic by contacting the organization directly using its official telephone number and contact information.

Go to the Montréal police website (SPVM) by clicking here for more information on how to deal with this type of fraud.

We also recommend going to the Government of Canada website by clicking here for information on recognizing, preventing and reporting common CRA-related fraud.

In conclusion, be vigilant! Never give personal or banking information to anyone who contacts you by phone, text or email.

If you have any tax questions, feel free to contact us at 1-844-200-4676. Our team will be more than happy to assist you.

We look forward to filing your tax returns!
The Taxō Team