Check your Canada Revenue Agency account for changes, Ottawa police warn, amid CERB fraud claims
Published Saturday, June 13, 2020 2:17PM EDT
The employment insurance section of the Government of Canada website is shown on a laptop in Toronto on April 4, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jesse Johnston
OTTAWA -- The Ottawa police fraud unit is urging citizens to check the direct deposit credentials on their online Canada Revenue Agency accounts and toughen up passwords in the wake of fraud claims involving CERB.
Police say they are investigating "numerous cases" of fraudulent applications for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
They say fraudsters are using information that has already been stolen to access online CRA accounts. The direct deposit information is changed to a new bank account that the hackers have already opened in a victim's name, and then they apply for the CERB.
Ottawa police say if you find your account details have been changed, you should contact the Canada Revenue Agency immediately at 1-800-959-8281 or online.
Police also recommend getting a credit check.
It's also recommended you change your password immediately. Never use the same password for two different services that are linked to the same email address. Most "hacking" usually involves checking online caches of stolen passwords and email addresses and trying them on other lucrative pages.
If you discover that your direct deposit information has been changed, police suggest you also contact the bank where the account was opened in your name and tell them that you did not open the account.
If you suspect you've been the victim of fraud, you're asked to call the Ottawa Police Service at 613-236-1222 ext.7300. You can also make a fraud report online.
The Canada Revenue Agency warns of numerous types of frauds on its website, including text messages, emails and phone calls. Be especially cautious around unsolicited messages with links that claim you're eligible for a benefit.
The CRA never uses text messages to contact taxpayers. It can sometimes phone or send emails, but the agency will never demand payment in forms such as bitcoin or gift cards and will never threaten you with arrest or jail time. The only time the CRA will send an email with a link in it is if you asked for one during a phone call with a CRA agent.
For more ways to tell the difference between a scam and a legitimate communication from the revenuers, visit the CRA's fraud page.