GTA resident speaks out after being duped by fraudulent Canada Post text

It’s a serious and, experts say, sophisticated scam. Erica Natividad speaks to one person who handed over their information after receiving a text from what they thought was Canada Post.

By Erica Natividad and Lucas Casaletto

One GTA resident is speaking out after they erroneously handed over their banking information in a Canada Post scam, and now, they’re warning others about it. 

Experts chalk this up to a rather sophisticated scam, and while these texts can look pretty legitimate, they’re not.

I had been expecting a delivery for some online purchases I made, and I had stepped away from my phone, and I came back, and there was a text from what I thought was Canada Post which seemed completely believable,” Bronwyn, who asked that their full name not be included, told CityNews in an interview. 

“[The text told me] to agree to pay a $1.25 to get it rescheduled, and it asked me for my debit card information.”

Bronwyn says the text directed them to include an email and a date of birth. They filled out the information, but as soon as they hit send, they knew something felt wrong. That is when Bronwyn called their bank out of caution.

I said, ‘I think this is what happened,’ and they asked me for details. As soon as I [told my bank] the text had asked me for my date of birth, they were like, ‘Oh yeah, nope,'” Bronwyn said. 

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The bank cancelled Bronwyn’s debit card and froze their account. The bank advised them to file a police report and contact major credit reporting agencies to file a fraud alert on their profile. It’s been two weeks with no suspicious activity, and experts say Bronwyn is one of the lucky ones. 

Jeff Horncastle with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) says text messages like these commonly lead to identity fraud. Horncastle referred to it as phishing or, in this case, “brand spoofing,” and he says scammers are getting better at fooling their targets.

Fraudsters are aware that many people are waiting for packages,” Horncastle said. “Way more people are ordering online now. We’ve received over 200 reports of this phishing text message in January alone.”

Canada Post text

A phishing scam text through Canada Post. Photo: CityNews/Speakers Corner.

Citing a report, the CAFC said that as many as 65 people fell victim to a scam like this and handed over their personal information. In a statement from Canada Post, a spokesperson said they take online security very seriously.

On Monday, the RCMP, OPP and the CAFC announced they were launching a fraud prevention campaign to raise awareness about what they call a “significant increase” in grandparent scams targeting seniors. Last year, the CAFC said it received fraud reports totalling $530 million in victim losses, an increase of nearly 40 per cent from the previous year.

When Canada Post makes a delivery attempt, we leave a delivery notice card at your door or in your mailbox,” the spokesperson said. “We do not contact our customers by email, text or phone unless it has been requested.”

Horncastle shared some vital advice, noting that people should trust their gut and not pursue irregular texts.

We have to stay on top of what techniques they’re currently using, and if you just go by the rule of telling yourself ‘I probably shouldn’t click on links’ and verifying the source, then you’ll protect yourself from being a victim,” he said.

Whether or not you’ve been a victim of phishing, the CAFC encourages anyone to report suspicious texts or emails by phone or online. 

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