July 5, 2023

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Provincial police in Huron County are warning residents about a scam that could create headaches and financial loss if they fall victim.

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In late March, two Huron residents reported receiving text messages from scammers notifying them the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) and Service Canada had validation permit (or valtag) refunds for them.

A hyperlink was attached in the text message and the victims clicked onto the link.

Upon clicking onto the link the victims were asked to provide PIN numbers and passwords. Both, however, contacted their banks and their bank cards were cancelled prior to sustaining any monetary loss.

Police say so-called smishing scams are an active method for scammers. When cybercriminals phish, they send fraudulent emails that seek to trick the recipient into clicking onto a malicious link. Typically, scammers want the recipient to open a URL link within the text message, where they are then led to a phishing tool prompting them to disclose personal information. The phishing tool often comes in the form of a website or app that also poses under a false identity.

Smishing simply uses text messages instead of email.

Huron OPP has this advice:

  • Do not click on the link. The MTO does NOT send text or email messages to the public.
  • Never give out any personal, credit or banking information to anyone over the phone, by letter, email, fax or any other means of communication. Additionally, never provide anyone your…

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