FRAUD ALERT: Canada Revenue Agency Text Messaging Scam
Scammers are sending texts to New Brunswickers impersonating the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The text messages suggest the consumer is owed a tax refund. The messages claim a past year’s refund was not sent because of a technical difficulty. These texts invite recipients to click on a link to receive the refunds they are owed.
How to recognize Text Messaging Scams
Text messaging scams occur when scammers use deceptive text messages to lure you into providing personal or financial information. The scammers send text messages impersonating a government agency, bank, telephone provider or other company.
Messages typically will ask you to provide or confirm usernames, passwords, credit/debit, PINs and other sensitive information that can be used to commit financial crimes. In this case, the message asks the recipient to clink on a link.
The text sometimes contains spelling mistakes or awkward language. In this case, the text claims to come from “Revenue Of Canada.”
A deceptive text may contain a link to a bogus CRA website that the scammers will use to capture whatever you type on that page. Selecting the link may also cause malicious software (malware) to download to your mobile phone.
The CRA never sends emails or texts with a link asking consumer to divulge personal information.
What to do if you receive a text from the Canada Revenue Agency
Don’t click on the link inside the text.
Delete the text immediately.
Where to report the Canada Revenue Agency Text Messaging Scam
USI-TECH Limited (USI) claims to be an online Forex and Bitcoin trading platform provider, located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
USI is not registered to trade in, or advise on, securities or exchange contracts in New Brunswick. We strongly urge New Brunswickers to avoid dealing with firms that are not registered to trade or advise in New Brunswick.
USI-Tech claims to provide automated trading software that allows smaller investors to trade in FOREX and purchase Bitcoin investment packages. It advertises high rates of return and promises a pyramid-like compensation structure to get people to recruit family and friends to invest. A Ponzi scheme pays fake investment returns to investors. The money for these fake returns comes from new investors buying into the scam. A pyramid scheme requires you to recruit new people into the scheme in order to earn money.
Bitcoin and cryptocurrency trading are receiving a lot of attention lately, but consumers should be very cautious about getting involved. Cryptocurrencies are very volatile and highly risky. The “growth” in value seen with some cryptocurrencies is simply not sustainable, and investors may lose all of their holdings very quickly. Do not give into the “Fear Of Missing Out.” Do your research and understand what you are getting into.
How to Recognize a Pyramid Scheme
If you have to pay to join, and making money is based mainly on how many people you can recruit, it is a pyramid scheme. Watch for these red flags:
Earnings are based on how many people you can recruit: If the only money you earn is based on recruiting new members, it is pyramid scheme. Legitimate business makes money by selling products or services for a fair price. In an MLM your earnings are based on your personal sales and the sales of the people you have recruited.
Get rich quick: Pyramid schemes promise to make you rich with little effort or risk. MLMs must set reasonable expectations about earning potential and the time and effort required to make money. A legitimate MLM opportunity will take hard work and, like any business, making a profit is not guaranteed. Consider the costs, competition and realistic sales expectations before committing.
Training: If the training and promotional material focuses on convincing you that the opportunity is not a scam, it’s a scam. MLMs provide their salespeople with quality training and support to help them get to know the products they are selling and be successful.
How to recognize a Ponzi scheme:
Many Ponzi schemes share common red flags:
High Returns, No Risk: There is just no such thing. All investments have some amount of risk. The higher the risk, the higher the potential returns. “Guaranteed” investment opportunities are almost always a scam.
Very Consistent Returns: The value of investments goes up and down over time. Especially if the investment is offering the potential to make higher returns. If you’re being promised great returns but the investment value hasn’t changed (even if the rest of the market goes down), be very cautious.
Secretive or Complicated Opportunities: Don’t invest in something you do not understand. Many investment opportunities may be promoting something that is very speculative. These are risky.
Can’t Get Paid: If you have a hard time receiving your payment or you can’t cash out your investments, you should be suspicious. Ponzi schemes rely on money coming in from new “investors” in order to pay older “investors.”. Once new recruits become difficult to find, there is less money to pay “investors.” with. Ponzi schemes will often pressure victims to re-invest money instead of withdrawing it. They may promise even higher returns in exchange for doing so.
What to do if you are targeted:
Anybody who has been approached or targeted to invest in USI is asked to contact the commission toll-free at 1-866-933-2222, or through its website at fcnb.ca.
CNP Fraud is defined as the unauthorized and/or fraudulent gathering, trade and use of payment data (card numbers, expiry dates and passwords). For CNP to occur, this data must be used in instances where the card and cardholder are not present (via phone, email, fax, or website). Most commonly, CNP transactions are performed by email, as it is one of the most unsecure methods to conduct card orders.
A scammer places an order for a product or service via a merchant’s Card-Not-Present channel (phone, email, fax, or website) intending to make the payment using a stolen payment card. The merchant, believing this to be a legitimate purchase, processes the payment on the stolen payment card(s) and provides/ delivers the product(s) or service(s). Eventually the real cardholder identifies and disputes the unauthorized charge. As a result, the merchant receives a charge back and subsequently loses any product or service rendered. Furthermore, it is the responsibility of the merchant to pay back the amount charged on the stolen card. Any merchant who accepts CNP orders can become a victim if they are not aware of fraud protection protocols or not abiding by the regulations.
It is also common to witness an over payment request when dealing with CNP fraud transactions. Scammers may demand the merchant charge extra on the card and forward funds to a third party – often a moving company to facilitate the shipment. By doing so, scammers are essentially turning stolen credit cards into cash.
Another version of CNP fraud seen within the airline industry is for scammers to purchase airline tickets using stolen credit cards and sell the tickets for a cheaper price online on classified ad sites. In situations like this, the merchant is not the only victim, so is the person purchasing the tickets being resold. In most cases, the purchaser will not be able to use the tickets as the merchant cancels them once fraud is confirmed.
Based on complaints received at the CAFC from 2016-2017 the industries most targeted by CNP fraud are: retail, airline and food/ hospitality.
Warning Signs - “Common Red Flags”:
Product / Order Flags
Larger than normal orders
Multiple orders for the same product; especially “big ticket” items
Orders from repeat customers that differ from their regular spending patterns
Customer requests “rush” or “overnight” delivery
Single card used with multiple shipping addresses
Billing address different than shipping address
Request that extra funds be sent to a 3rd party shipping company
Orders made using different names, addresses, and card numbers but are from a single IP address
Internet addresses at a free email service
Multiple cards used for one order (cards keep getting declined)
Purchaser name and cardholder name are different
How to Protect Yourself:
Know the Red Flags and compare to the transaction(s) received.
Prior to shipping merchandise, call the phone number the customer provided and verify the transaction information.
Be sensitive to priority shipments for fraud-prone merchandise, which may indicate a fraudulent transaction.
Be aware of orders that occur with a request for urgent shipment, especially if the shipping address does not match the billing address on the credit card provided.
Be aware of orders from repeat customers that differ from regular spending patterns.
Use available verification services (address and card validation code 2 (CVC 2), etc.) of the credit card network companies – Mastercard and Visa.
Contact your processers and ensure security measures are established to prevent victimization and reduce unwanted charge backs.
If you think you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, please contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or report online at http://www.antifraudcentre.ca
This document is the property of the CAFC. It is loaned to your agency/department in confidence and it is not to be reclassified, copied, reproduced, used or further disseminated, in whole or part, without the consent of the originator. It is not to be used in affidavits, court proceedings or subpoenas or for any other legal or judicial purposes. This caveat is an integral part of this document and must accompany any information extracted from it.
FRAUD ALERT – POWERBALL SCAM Even New Brunswick’s consumer watchdog can be a target for scam artists.
Last month, the CEO of the Financial and Consumer Services Commission opened a white business envelop delivered to his home. Inside was an official-looking invitation offering him a chance to purchase shares of tickets in an “exclusive, guaranteed-win superjackpot syndicate.” The invitation suggested all winnings in the USA $100-million powerball lottery would be divided equally between each share.
The invitation asked him to respond immediately and to confirm his purchase of shares by sending his credit card information – an obvious red flag. Upon closer examination, he noticed another warning sign. While the envelope was postmarked from Prague, the invitation letter had a return address in Ireland and the supplied envelope to mail in a purchase order had a Hong Kong address.It was one of three overseas lottery offers he received in the mail last month. The other two advised him he had won the lottery and needed to send payment to collect his winnings.
How to recognize a lottery scam
You receive an invitation with a “guarantee” to win prizes in a lottery.
You must first purchase something or pay an advance fee, such as taxes, to receive the prize.
You are asked to provide your credit card number and other personal information to enter the lottery or claim your prize.
The solicitation is from a foreign country.
Gambling in the United States is state controlled, which means you must buy lottery tickets from a licensed retailer within a state, and you have to return to the state to collect any winnings. Third-party ticket brokers are unregulated, which means there are no guarantees you will collect your prize. In many cases, only US citizens can claim a lottery win.
What to do if you receive a lottery scam
Don’t respond to any mailings of this kind. It will only result in an increase in junk mail, even if you just return to sender.
Never reply with your credit card or personal information.
Know what you pay for, avoid messy contractual clauses
Are you looking for a new fridge, washer, dryer or stove? Know that certain warranties come with an extra surprise: restrictive clauses that may end up costing you more than anticipated. Before buying, know which questions to ask to avoid being caught in a spin cycle.
When getting brand new appliances, budgeting for future repairs is not the first thing on your mind. However, as the machines "tumble down" their life cycle, it may become a bigger burden, especially if you are not covered by a broad warranty that includes both the parts and services.
Some warranties only cover the parts or the repairs, to varying degrees. Some may even require that you do business with an "authorized" or "accredited" supplier, which is often more expensive than your local repair shop. Regardless of the type of repairs or parts required, and whether or not they are covered by the warranty, if it is not completed by those cherry-picked suppliers, you risk voiding your warranty completely.
Before purchasing new appliances, make sure you know what you are getting yourself into. Ask the following questions:
Does the appliance come with a full or limited warranty?
What's covered by the warranty (parts, repairs or both)?
Are there different warranty terms for different parts or types of repairs?
Who should I contact if my appliance needs repairs – the manufacturer, retailer or a third-party warranty provider?
What documents will I need to keep in case of repairs?
When the appliance needs repairs, can I hire whomever I wish, or do it myself? If I do, does it affect my warranty and how?
When repairs need to be done, can I get the parts from any supplier or do I have to use an authorized dealer? If I find the part myself, does it affect my warranty and how?
Additionally, consider the following tips:
Don't be afraid to ask the salesperson questions. That's their job.
While retailers will have answers to many of those questions, also check the appliance manufacturer's website. It often provides more information.
If a question isn't covered, contact the manufacturer directly to learn more.
Keep good notes of the answers you get.
Help your family and friends avoid being jammed in a sticky situation and share the word.