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Wave of new phishing scams texted to Montrealers

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The City of Montreal and Quebec’s automobile insurance board (SAAQ) are warning people that texts claiming to be from them may actually be lures from fraudsters.

Both are telling people not to click on the link in texts appearing to be from them under any circumstances.

The text-based phishing scams are all similar — people get a text which claims to be from an established institution and are asked to follow a link and input their personal information.

The scam, which claims to be from the city, tells people that they are owed a refund. The texted link appears to be Interac. 

People are then asked to input their banking information to receive the refund.

City spokesperson Frédéric Amiand said these phishing attempts are independent of its servers and Montreal has not experienced a security breach.

The SAAQ phishing scam is asking people to renew their driver’s licence by clicking the texted link.  

SAAQ spokesperson Mario Vaillancourt said people are being sent links to what looks like a legitimate website where the person is then asked to input their personal information.

Vaillancourt said the SAAQ sends out emails, but not texts. He added that payments are not done through its site.

“You can pay your driver’s license online, but you do that with your participating financial institutions,” Vaillancourt said.

Text scams are an ongoing issue in Canada. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre said in 2016 that the combined loss for victims was $2.2 million.

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