People are becoming more and more aware of scams and definitely thinking twice before responding to emails seeking personal information.
However, if you received an email from the Canada Revenue Agency claiming you had a refund coming, you might be inclined to reply.
Kimberley resident Donna Orr almost did.
Last week she received an email with the return address Canada Revenue Agency <email@example.com>
The email was titled Claim Your Tax Refund Online and went on to say the following:
We identified an error in the calculation of your tax from the last payment, amounting to $386. In order for us to return the excess payment, you need to create a Tax Gateway account after which the funds will be credited to your specified bank account.
Please click “Get Started” below to claim your refund:
We are here to ensure the correct tax is paid at the right time, whether this relates to payment of taxes received by the department or entitlement to benefits paid.
Clicking the link takes you to a very official looking Canada Revenue page, where you are asked for your date of birth, social insurance number and more.
Orr said the email seemed legitimate — and tempting.
But she decided to call Revenue Canada.
“I checked with Revenue Canada. She said they are very aware of this fraudulent email that is circulating. She stated that Revenue Canada does not send emails.”
Luckily for Donna, she thought first before responding and did not reply with her personal information. She also contacted the Bulletin to get the word out so others don’t fall for it.
As always, the old adage, if it seems to good to be true, it probably is, applies.
Readers are also reminded that there are plenty of other email scams circulating as well, including one supposedly from Shaw (complete with logo) claiming you need to update your billing information.
The best rule of thumb is to never reply to any email asking for personal information.
The Government of B.C. has proclaimed Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014, as Data Privacy Day, reinforcing the importance for people to protect their personal privacy, especially when online and using social media.
The proclamation coincides with an international effort to empower and educate people about how to protect their personal information and manage their digital footprint. Data protection and privacy is a constantly evolving field and requires ongoing efforts to maintain security.
The B.C. government hosts its 15th annual Privacy and Security Conference in Victoria from Feb. 5 – 7, 2014 that will feature speakers, panel discussions and workshops on the latest news, ideas and developments in privacy and security.