Berry: Email scams nab millennials too

My little sister wasn’t as fortunate as most

Seniors aren’t the only ones getting scammed by a ruse where con artists purporting to represent the Canadian Revenue Agency, Millennials are shaping up to be just as gullible.

My 21-year-old sister, who said she was in a rush, filled out a suspicious CRA form using her credit card number, SIN, address and my mother’s maiden name.

You may be asking yourself, “wow, how did someone under the age of 70 actually get scammed?” Let me break it down.

While there were a few red flags, the website was identical to the CRA website. Typically, one of the signs to check if a website is a scam would be to examine the URL.

Also, the email said it was for a tax return for $300, which is a reasonable lump sum of cash. The CRA is also known to email Canadians, it says so on its website. Although it should be noted the CRA will only send direct deposits or cheques by mail and never an e-transfer.

Millennials may have long known a Nigerian prince wanting to deposit his estate into their accounts is probably a scam, but scammers are constantly changing their tack.

The Competition Bureau and the CAFC received almost 90,000 complaints in 2016, compared to just under 70,000 in 2015, according to the Government of Canada’s website.

While complaints to the Competition Bureau focused mostly on false or misleading advertising and deceptive marketing, the CAFC received complaints related to more than 30 different types of mass marketing fraud and identity theft schemes, it says.

If you are unsure which agency to contact, start with the CAFC.

In 2016 alone, online scams accounted for more than 20,000 complaints and more than $40 million in losses by Canadians.

So trust your gut, if you’re hesitating about clicking that link because it looks suspicious, don’t.

The CRA has a link to examples of fraudulent forms, at https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/corporate/security/protect-yourself-against-fraud/samples-fraudulent-emails.html.

Carli Berry is a reporter with the Lake Country Calendar.

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