Fake Revenue Canada Agency website used in online scam

A Maple Ridge, B.C., woman was almost tricked by an email which she thought was linked to the B.C. teachers' strike support payment that many parents are expecting.

Katherine Murray thought she was applying to get the B.C. teachers' strike support payment

A screengrab provided by the Canada Revenue Agency shows a typical form on a site pretending to be the CRA. Though the page uses the logo and similar fonts as the CRA, it is hosted elsewhere and asks for credit card information. (cra-arc.gc.ca)

A Maple Ridge, B.C., woman was almost tricked by an email which she thought was linked to the B.C. teachers' strike support payments that many parents are expecting.

When Katherine Murray got an email on Monday promising an internet transfer of funds from the Canada Revenue Agency, she assumed it was the temporary support payments she was expecting from the provincial government.

In July, the B.C. government promised to pay parents of eligible public school students under the age of 13 a $40-a-day temporary education support payment for the duration of the B.C. teachers' strike, should it continue into the new school year in September.

Students went back to class on Sept. 22, almost three weeks late, and the provincial government said the accumulated education support funds would be disbursed to parents and caregivers toward the end of October.

So she click on the link in the email, which took her to a fake version of the Canada Revenue Agency website.

"It looked the Canada Revenue website does. It's kind of grey and it's got the red font and it's got the maple leaf," she said.

The website asked for her social insurance number, her date of birth and, finally, her credit card number. 

That's when Murray got suspicious.

A quick call to the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre, which is listed on the RCMP's anti-fraud webpage, confirmed the email was a scam.

"They almost had me, right?" Murray said. "Because we're expecting that money to come and everyone, I think, has that money earmarked for some kind of bill or something."

Murray says she wants to warn other parents not to fall into the trap.

The RCMP says many Canadians are getting similar phishing e-mails, and people need to be aware of the scams that are out there.

The real CRA website, shown here, looks very much like the fake one set up by scammers, but it has the URL www.cra-arc.gc.ca. (Canada Revenue Agency)

With files from the CBC's Brady Strachan

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