ICBC is warning customers to delete any text messages purporting to be sent from ICBC, after a number of customers reported receiving such texts in late September.
The text messages tell the receiver they have been sent a refund for a traffic fine or red light ticket, and provides a link to claim the money. The link directs the user to a site where they have to enter personal banking information.
Called SMiShing (short for Short Message Service—also known as text messages—phishing), this scam could trick a user into unknowingly downloading malware onto their mobile device or sending sensitive personal information directly to the person or group behind the attack.
ICBC stresses that it does not use unsecure channels, such as text messaging or social media, to communicate sensitive information to its customers. Furthermore, ICBC does not issue refunds via text message or Interac e-transfer.
In most cases, reading the text should not cause harm to one’s mobile device, but customers should delete the text immediately and not click on any links.
Customers who have received this text are encouraged to report this through their local police (non-emergency line) and the Government of Canada’s Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.
ICBC is in no way involved with this incident other than being named in the messages, and has confirmed that its information systems have not been compromised.
There are several steps people can take to avoid becoming a victim of SMiShing:
Do not click links within text messages, especially if they are sent from someone you don’t know. But also be aware that sometimes a scam text could also come from a person, business, or organization that you do know.
Do not respond to texts that ask for private or financial information.
If you receive a message that appears to be from ICBC or another institution you regularly do business with, contact the business directly to confirm they did send you a message. ICBC’s customer service line is 1-800-663-3051.
Never reply to a suspicious text message without doing your research and verifying the source.
Never call a phone number from an unknown texter.
Common sense is your best protection against fraud. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.