Don’t click that link! Your guide to email and text scams

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I got a text that said, “You got $89.95 from Manitoba Hydro.”

It told me to click a link so the money would be sent through INTERAC.

I’m not the one who pays our hydro bill at home so I deleted the text and looked online for similar scams.


The text I got is a way to smish. Smishing is trying to get private information like bank account numbers and passwords by text message.

The goal is to get bank account numbers, passwords, credit card details, and SIN. It is called phishing by email, and vishing by phone call.

Clicking the link will take me to a page where I would be asked for bank account information so they can deposit the money. The scammer will get into my account and steal my money quickly.

Kinds of smishing scams:

  1. Porting fraud– A text will say that your phone company has received a request to move your number to another carrier. If you get this kind of text, don’t click any links. Call your provider immediately using their number on their official website (not the number on the text message). Let them know that you did not request it.
  2. Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) tax refund – This scam happens from January to April. An email will say that the CRA sent your tax refund via INTERAC e-transfer. It will have a link to a bank webpage (for example, RBC or BMO). It will also say you can click to get the money. This is fake. The scammer wants to get your personal, bank account, or credit card information.
  3. Update your bank account information – An email or text will say that your account is frozen. It will say “click a link to confirm your bank account details”. Your bank will never send an email like this.
  4. Mystery Shopper– This message will ask if you want to be a mystery or secret shopper. It will ask you to click on a link and write your name. The scammer will send you a cheque to put into your account. They will ask you to buy items from stores. Often times, the cheque has a bigger amount than what you need for shopping. The scammer will ask you to send them the extra money. Later on, the bank will find out that the cheque is fake. You would have to pay for the items you shopped. The scammer gets the money you sent.

How to protect yourself from SMS or email scams:

  1. Legitimate companies and organizations don’t use texts or calls for official communication.
    • The government, your bank, or the CRA will never contact you to ask for money back or announce tax refunds. They will also not ask for private information over the phone, through email, or text.
    • If you’re not sure if a text from a store or company is real, call Customer Service and ask.
    • If a message looks fake, look online to see if it’s a common scam .Know the latest scams from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
  2. Do not click links right away
    • Do not click on any links or download anything if you do not know the sender. It could load viruses, spyware, or ransomware that can lock your phone or computer.
    • Do not call or text the sender to ask. If it is a scammer, calling them back will let them know that your number is active. They will use your number again for other scams.
  3. Check for errors
    • Scam messages have bad spelling, no punctuation, incorrect capitalization, and wrong grammar.
    • Check links in the message. Sites where you need to enter personal information should start with ‘https’ not ‘http’.
  4. Don’t take a message seriously if you’re not expecting money or an email from someone.
    • The message is not real if it offers something that sounds too good to be true.
    • Check links without clicking on them. Right click on the link, copy it, then paste it on a service like CheckShortURL, Norton Safe Web, URLVoid, or ScanURL. These sites can tell you if a link is safe.
  5. Keep your personal information private
    • Do not share personal information on social media posts.
    • Be careful of emails or text messages that ask you to update information in you online accounts.
  6. Report it – Do not delete scam messages right away. Send it to your telecom provider or report to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre .This could keep others from becoming a victim and stop the fraud from spreading.

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