Police in Vernon are alerting residents of a text messaging scam that’s currently making the rounds in the community.
Here’s how the scam works: the would-be victim receives a text message stating they are eligible for a refund or rebate, and containing a clickable link that the person is directed to follow to deposit or claim their money. The link then redirects the victim to a phony website that prompts them to enter personal info and banking information.
Meanwhile, the fraudster is in the back end of the webpage and now has full access to the victim’s sensitive information.
“Never click on an unsolicited text message offering money,” said Const. Chris Terleski, media relations officer for the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP. “Again, this is a good reminder that ICBC, BC Hydro, utility companies, Revenue Canada, and any legitimate business or government agency will not issue any rebates via text messages.”
To stay protected, police say it’s wise to be skeptical of unsolicited text messages, and:
• Never click on a text message offering a refund, rebate or free money;
• Avoid providing sensitive information through email or text;
• Notify your financial institution immediately if you sense anything fraudulent about a transaction;
• If you’ve shared banking information with a scammer, contact your financial institution to place alerts on your accounts;
• If you’ve shared personal information, contact Equifax and Trans Union to place fraud alerts on your account
These links aren’t going to lead to money, they’re only going to lead to trouble, Terleski added.
As with all scams, if you have not provided personal information or lost any money, you do not need to contact the police. Instead, report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online at antifraudcentre.ca or by calling 1-888-495-8501.