Ahhh, spring. Time for fresh starts, spring cleaning, spring blossoms and SCAMMERS!

That’s right, unfortunately there are many out there that take advantage of our great nature. Phishing (not fishing, that’s a good thing!) comes in all shapes and sizes.

Here are a few tips to help keep you from losing everything you work so hard for!

One of The Most Notorious Culprits: The CRA Scam

Tax season can be a trying time, especially for those who must pay. Couple that with a CRA scammer and tax time can be a real pain in the pocketbook.

Here are some tips from the CRA to protect yourself from this scam:

Caller ID
Scammers can fake their caller ID so it’s important to really confirm the caller’s identity. Ask important questions and ask them to give YOU information, but don’t give any out yourself.

Confirm the status of your account online rather than believing what the caller is telling you.
When in doubt, simply hang up the phone. If you feel there may be a real concern about your account, call the CRA yourself using the number from the website, never the number on the caller ID.

The CRA will NEVER:

  1. Use aggressive language or tone to threaten you. If this happens, hang up.
  2. Ask for prepaid credit cards, gift cards or payments in cryptocurrency. Again, if this happens, simply hang up.
  3. Threaten to arrest you or send police to your home. Do not call the number back that they tell you to call. If this happens while you are on a live call, you guessed it, HANG UP!

Be Diligent and Educate Yourself

Unfortunately, we have become a society that is reliant upon technology for our everyday lives. This convenience also leaves us susceptible to hackers, schemers and scammers.

If you ever receive an e-transfer from someone you don’t know, do not accept it without verifying whether or not is legitimate. Unfortunately, what looks like an unexpected sum of money coming your way is a method that hackers can use to access your banking information.

If you receive an e-mail about any sort of payment, always verify that the sender is legitimate. You should do this even if it’s someone you have a business relationship or subscription with. Unfortunately, scammers know how to create e-mails that look legitimate, right down to using a similar e-mail address.

Always check the e-mail it’s sent from; compare it with e-mails on the company website or ones you’ve received in the past if you’re unsure.

If you’re provided with a link to click on, always check the URL provided to see whether it’s the real company’s website or if you’re being sent to a fake site. Be careful before clicking on any links, you could end up on a site infected with malware that could be immediately downloaded to your computer.

Another thing to watch our for in e-mails is if you are asked to provide any sort of password, banking credentials or other sensitive personal information. Companies will never ask for this information in an e-mail.

Probably the best piece of advice we can offer is that if it doesn’t feel right or seems too good to be true, it probably is! Sadly, your great aunt overseas never left you thousands of dollars, and if she did, a stranger contacting you through your e-mail wouldn’t be the way you find out.

Use your common sense and instincts to avoid being the victim of a scam or infecting your computer with malware.

This post only touches on a few of the ways that we can be deceived and attacked by the unknown online. By taking the time to educate yourself, you’re taking an important step in protecting yourself and others while online. Always be vigilant and when in doubt, do you research and trust your instincts.

Have a safe and virus-free spring!