Submitted by Coquitlam RCMP

Tax season is here and a number of tax refund scams have already surfaced in the area. Even police officers are not immune to receiving fraudulent tax refund emails. One of our Corporals recently received an email where he was asked to click on a web link to register for a Government Gateway ac¬count to receive a $386 tax refund.

When we tested the link we landed on a fake Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) website that looks very much like their actual page. The website is even in both official languages. However, when you take a look at the url, you see that it is not the real CRA website. Furthermore, you are asked to provide personal information including your credit card number, expiry and the card verification value code (CVV), which would not be asked for by CRA.

The CVV is a three-digit security code on the back of Visa and MasterCard, and a four-digit code on the front of American Express. It serves as an added measure to prevent fraud. By entering the CVV, along with other personal information into a phishing site; your credit card could be compromised.

As police officers, we see many ways fraudsters try to get personal and financial information from their potential victims. Tax season is here and scammers are using this opportunity to get your information by offering you a ‘tax refund’, said Corporal Jamie Chung. After they get your information, they can use it for illegitimate financial gains, such as applying for credit cards, mortgages and personal loans; or they can simply sell it to other identity thieves.

The Coquitlam RCMP urges residents to be extra vigilant when receiving an email or a text from CRA that offers a tax refund. When in doubt, you should contact CRA directly.

If you are expecting a tax refund, CRA will either mail you a cheque or deposit the refund directly into your bank account. It does not ask for your personal information by email.

A good rule of thumb to go by is that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Be wary of unsolicited emails, especially those that offer you money, but require you to provide personal and financial information.