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Canada Revenue Agency Tax Refund Phishing Scam

Summary:
Email, purportedly from the Canada Revenue Agency, claims that the recipient can claim a tax refund by filling in an online form (Full commentary below).



Status:
Message is a phishing scam designed to steal personal information.

Example:(Submitted, July 2009)
Canada Revenue Agency Online Refund Form After the last annual calculation of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of 386.00.

Please submit the tax refund and allow us 3-9 days in order to process it.

A refund can be delayed for a variety of reasons. For example submitting invalid records or applying after the deadline. To access the form for your tax refund, please click here>> (Link to bogus website removed)

Copyright Canada Revenue Agency. All rights reserved.




Commentary:
This email, which claims to be from the Canada Revenue Agency, informs the recipient that he or she is eligible for a tax refund of $386. The recipient is instructed to click a link, ostensibly to access an online form and begin the process of claiming the supposed tax refund.

©iStockphoto.com/ranplett

Canadian Dolars
Canadian taxpayers are being targeted by a phishing scam that promises a tax refund from the Canada Revenue Agency
However, the message is not from the Canada Revenue Agency and the supposed tax refund does not exist. In fact, the message is a scam designed to trick recipients into divulging their personal information to Internet criminals.

Recipients who fall for the ruse and click on the link included in the email will be taken to a bogus website designed to resemble a genuine Canada Revenue Agency web page. Once on the bogus page, the recipient will be asked to provide sensitive financial information such as credit card numbers and bank account details. The financial information submitted on the fake tax refund form can then be collected by scammers and used for fraud and identity theft. Other Canadian versions of the scam have targeted Canada's Department of Finance. And criminals have used the same bogus tax refund scheme to target other jurisdictions including, the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

In order to make their claims seem more believable, the scammers often include seemingly official tax department logos, copyright notices and secondary links that lead to the genuine tax department website. Internet users should be very cautious of any emails that purport to be from their nation's tax department that ask them to provide personal information by following a link or opening an attachment. No legitimate taxation body is likely to inform taxpayers about a possible refund and ask them to provide personal information via an unsolicited email.

The Canada Revenue Agency has warned Canadian taxpayers about such scams on its website.



References:
Department of Finance Phishing Scam
IRS Refund Scam Email
Australian Tax Refund Scam Email
HM Revenue & Customs Tax Refund Phishing Scam

Last updated: 30th July 2009
First published: 30th July 2009

Write-up by Brett M. Christensen