The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) has turned for the worse due to numerous cases of fraudulent applications. Identity theft has become prevalent. Scammers steal direct deposit information to access online Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) accounts.
These hackers will then open a bank account under the victim’s name and direct CERB payments to the newly-opened bank account. The CRA and police authorities are now advising Canadians to check direct deposit credentials on their online CRA accounts. Be sure you do because you might be one of the victims.
Cybercriminals are brazen in the health crisis. The prime target of their illegal activities is the CERB program. The modus operandi or way of operating is to check online caches of stolen passwords and email addresses.
The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security has identified more than 1,000 imitations of federal government websites. Most of them mimic the CRA’s website. An SMS campaign claiming to be from the government directs people to go to a “Canada-alert-COVID19” website. Out of the need to get CERB, unsuspecting Canadians download the malware.
Shield against hackers
The CRA is not sending out any invitations to taxpayers. Don’t fall prey to emails, text messages or phone calls telling that you’re eligible for CERB. Also, the tax agency will not demand payments or threaten you with jail time.
Change your online CRA account password to a stronger one. Make sure not to use the same password for two different services if they link to the same email address. If you suspect you’ve been a fraud victim, call the CRA or the Ottawa Police Service. Contact the bank too to inform them you did not open the account.
Last, do not divulge your financial details. Without them, scammers can’t perpetrate their evil deeds.
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If cybercriminals can victimize governments and businesses, individuals are easy pickings. Don’t be a fair game for hackers. If you didn’t sign up for CERB, someone might have filed in your place. Check the CRA website to make sure your name doesn’t show up.