Online Scam Awareness

Online Scam Awareness
Unfortunately, online scams have become a common problem across Canada.  According the the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, Canadians lost over $40 million to online scams in 2020, most commonly through phishing scams.  Be wary of unsolicited texts or emails from individuals or organizations, especially if they contain a link.  Never click on a link if you aren't confident of the organization's legitimacy.  The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre has an online list of common scams across the country, which may help you identify if the communication received is illegitimate.  Find more tips on how to protect yourself from scams and fraud here.
Phishing scams are typically misleading and deceptive emails or texts that falsely claim to come from legitimate organizations like banks, businesses, or governments.  Whatever the message, the email or text is an attempt to trick individuals into providing their personal or financial information, often by offering a rebate or refund of some kind.  Signs of phishing include spelling mistakes in an email address or message, offers too good to be true, or attempts to trigger a sense of urgency to respond quickly.  
If you are a victim of a scam, let your financial institutions know immediately.  This allows them to monitor your accounts while you change your passwords or add multi-factor authentication.  Report the incident to your local police, and they will work with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre on the issue.  
Recent Scams in our Area: 
Targeted Relief Payment Scams
Albertans have received text messages posing as the Provincial Government.  Targeted individuals seem to include seniors and families who may be eligible for targeted relief payments.  Recipients are invited to click a link to register for automatic bank payments.  Government of Alberta will never text or make unsolicited calls to ask for personal information.  For more information, view the Government of Alberta's press release.
Energy Rebate Scams
Albertans have received texts claiming to be from the provincial government.  Recipients are invited to apply for an energy rebate by clicking on a URL that appears to link to a provincial program.  However, neither the provincial nor federal governments have sent emails or text regarding the electricity rebate program, or any other energy rebates.  The Government of Alberta's electricity rebate program will be applied directly to Albertan's energy bills, with no need to apply.  View the Government of Alberta's press release on this scam for more information.
License Plate Sticker Scams
Albertans have received text messages falsely claiming to come from Service Alberta.  Scammers offer a refund for elimination of license plate stickers via a text with a link, which requests banking information.  Service Alberta is not offering refunds for the elimination of license plate stickers.  Do not follow any links related to this issue.  View the Government of Alberta's press release on this scam for more information.
Farm Scams
Western Canada farmers have also been victims of scamming.  During the dry conditions of summer 2021, farmers sought hay for animals.  Scammers would post online ads for hay for sale, and ask for payment in full, or at least a 50% deposit.  Once paid, the scammer would disappear.  Be aware of scamming whenever buying product online.  View more about how to safely purchase online here.