Speeding ticket scam includes fake but convincing B.C. government website

Speeding ticket scam includes fake but convincing B.C. government website

A Victoria resident is warning others to be careful as a new text message scam is making the rounds across the province.

Melissa Glushka received a text message over the weekend from an unknown number claiming she had been caught speeding.

“Our automated speeding system has caught your vehicle doing 46km/h in a 30km/h zone,” the text message read.

It also provided a link to a website to “settle the infraction without a court date”.

Glushka said this message immediately raised some red flags.

“I work in IT, contractor mainly for the government, so I knew right away. I thought I gotta look, look this up and see what’s going on,” Glushka explained. 

She looked up the message online and wasn’t seeing anything. She then decided not to click directly on the link but copied and pasted it into a URL to open the website.

“The thing that caught me right away is they rendered the website, so they made it look and feel exactly like the government website,” Glushka said. 

“Right away it says here’s the amount you owe, and and please input your payment or your credit card, and you can pay by PayPal.”

She added the fake website even included links at the bottom of the page that take you to the actual B.C. government website.

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The RCMP said it is aware of the scam.

“Scammers are always trying to find news ways to defraud anyone,” Cpl. Alex BĂ©rubĂ© said in a statement.

He said police are working with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre to help educate people on some of the most common scams.

“The first step is to always be cautious when receiving a text/email with a hyperlink, especially if you are asked to provide personal and financial information,” BĂ©rubĂ© said. “Always verify that the organization you’re dealing with is legitimate before you take any other action.”

He said residents should also look for spoofing used by fraudsters to mislead victims and convince them that they are communicating with legitimate people, companies, or organizations.

Some examples of spoofing are:

  • Manipulating a phone number appearing on call display either by call or text message to display legitimate phone numbers for law enforcement agencies, financial institutions, government agencies or service providers.
  • Manipulating the sender’s email address in order to make you believe that the email you’re receiving is from a legitimate source.
  • Creating fraudulent websites to be a financial institution, company offering employment, investment company or government agency. In many cases, fraudsters will use a similar domain/website URL to the legitimate company or organization with a minor spelling difference.

Glushka said in this case, she knew it was a scam based on the website URL.

“Being a contractor to the government I know that it needs to have that gov.bc.ca tag on it, this one had .com so I knew right away this is a scam,” she explained.

ICBC told CHEK News in a statement that it is also aware of the fraudulent message and website circulating.

“ICBC does not send text messages to customers about traffic violation tickets or payment requests,” it said. “If you receive such a text, please ignore or delete the message, as it is a scam.”

Glushka said just because she knew it was a scam right away doesn’t mean others will, which is why she is sharing her story. 

“All these scams are out there and it’s really scary,” she said. “Everybody’s struggling with finances and money and I hope that maybe by myself putting that out there and putting it on, you know, the the community connections that people are aware of it and don’t don’t lose any money over this.”

RCMP say there are a few ways residents can protect themselves from scams, including:

  • Never assuming that phone numbers appearing on your call display are accurate.
  • Call the company or agency in question directly, if you receive a text message or email. Make sure you research their contact information and don’t use the information provided in the first message.
  • Never clicking on links received via text message or email.
  • When visiting a website, always verify the URL and domain to make sure you are on the official website.

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre has a working list of scams on its website.

Mackenzie ReadMackenzie Read

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