Scam email touts big refunds from Canada Revenue Agency

Manitobans are being warned about a scam email claiming to be from Revenue Canada.

Winnipegger avoids being scammed, but experts say other breaches are troubling

Manitobans are being warned about a scam email claiming to be from Revenue Canada. CBC's Meagan Fiddler reports. 1:57

Manitobans are being warned about a scam email claiming to be from Revenue Canada.

Donna Meder got the email telling her she would be getting a refund of $386 — even though she hadn't filed her 2013 taxes yet.

At first glance it seemed legit, she said.

“First of all [it mentioned a] government gateway account [and to] click here to register. That was just exactly like something I had done before," she said but thought better of doing it.

"I thought, 'No, I'm not going there.'”

She tried calling the Canada Revenue Agency's 1-800 phone number but it was busy. So she went on the agency's website and her suspicions about it being a scam were confirmed.

Now, she wants to warn others.

“Somebody's going to bite, and it's too bad because I don't know what kind of information and whether it will be harmful or not. That's the issue,” she said.

Rod Giesbrecht works with Winnipeg’s Imaginet, an internet technology firm. He said Meder did the right thing.

“If it doesn’t seem right, it’s probably not,” said Giesbrecht. “[This latest scam] shows some of the sophistication of people stealing identities right now. I think that’s maybe the biggest concern. They always seem to be one step ahead.”

Cheques intercepted by scammers

Meder managed to avoid being scammed, but Winnipeg’s Nelson Maillet never got an email before his child-tax credit cheques went missing.

Maillet and his wife called the CRA in January when two cheques didn’t arrive.

“They told us that someone opened up the account – direct deposit account – under my common-law wife’s name,” said Maillet.

The person had opened an account and applied for direct deposit with Maillet’s information.

“If it’s happening to us, how many other people is this happening to?” said Maillet.

Maillet contacted his local MP to fix the problem, and cheques are arriving in the mail once again.

“It’s very concerning they’ve already had this happen to them, even though we’ve just heard about this breach from CRA,” said Giesbrecht.

To protect yourself, he recommends changing your passwords often and not responding to scam emails. He said you should contact CRA if you get a scam email, though, or file an online complain with the RCMP.

Canada Revenue Agency asks anyone who receives the email scam to report it to its fraud centre or call RCMP.