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Vernon North Okanagan RCMP warns against refund text message scam

The scam contains a link which sends the potential victim to a phony website that prompts them to enter personal and/or banking information.
The scam contains a link which sends the potential victim to a phony website that prompts them to enter personal and/or banking information. Vernon North Okanagan RCMP

Don’t fall for a text-message scam offering a refund that’s circulating throughout the community, say Vernon North Okanagan RCMP.

According to police, the scam involves a text message indicating that the person is eligible for a refund or rebate.

The scam contains a clickable link which sends the potential victim to a phony website that prompts them to enter personal and/or banking information.

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“On the other end of the (web)page is actually the fraudster who now has full access to the victim’s personal or financial information, which can have devastating consequences,” said police.

“Never click on an unsolicited text message offering money,” said Const. Chris Terleski.

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“This is a good reminder that ICBC, B.C. Hydro, utility companies, Revenue Canada, and any legitimate business or government agency will not issue rebates via text messages.”

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Police say if you’ve fallen victim to a scam and shared personal information, you should contact your financial institution, Equifax and Trans Union to place fraud alerts on your account.

“These (text links) aren’t going to lead to money, they’re only going to lead to trouble,” said Terleski.

According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, many scams request paying a fee in advance of receiving goods, services, or a prize.

“It’s illegal for a company to ask you to pay a fee upfront before they’ll give you a loan. There are no prize fees or taxes in Canada. If you won it, it’s free,” says the centre’s website.

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Police noted that if you have not provided personal information or lost any money, you do not need to contact the RCMP. However, the scam can be reported to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre or by calling 1-888-495-8501.

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