Thursday, August 6, 2009

Phishing scammers posing as the tax man

It’s unfortunately quite common these days to receive e-mails purportedly from legitimate financial institutions requesting personal information for fraudulent purposes. These scams, typically referred to as “phishing” scams, use phony e-mails and websites to lure unsuspecting victims into handing over critical personal information, such as social insurance numbers, credit card information, bank account details and passport numbers.
Members should keep in mind that the credit union — and any legitimate financial institution — will never request personal information by e-mail. If you receive a questionable e-mail, the best advice is always to contact the institution directly to inquire about the validity of the request.
However, members may not be aware of a similar phishing scam currently making the rounds which involves fraudulent communications purportedly from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). As with other instances of phishing, the phony e-mail requests personal information. In this case, however, the request is made so that the taxpayer can supposedly receive a refund or benefit payment.
The CRA has advised that taxpayers should not respond to these fraudulent communications. The agency says it will not request personal information of any kind from a taxpayer by e-mail and that it will not divulge taxpayer information to another person unless formal authorization is provided by the taxpayer. The CRA also says it will not leave personal information on an answering machine.
If you have concerns about an e-mail you’ve received, you’re encouraged to visit the CRA website at http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca.

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