Confusing Service Canada emails asking for partial CERB refund sows confusion

In recent years, fraudsters have used increasingly sophisticated spam and phishing emails to impersonate the government and steal people’s information and money.

So when the Government of Canada began contacting some Canadians asking them to refund overpayments of the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), many dismissed the emails as spam.

However, despite the resemblance to scam emails, these emails were actually legitimate government mail.

The emails included a link and a 1-800 phone number to follow up.

Basic digital security practices encourage people to exercise a high degree of caution and avoid clicking on suspicious links or following suspicious phone calls, especially when asking for money, which explains probably why many people ignored the emails.

What contributed to the confusion was the formatting and language of the emails the government was sending. Canadians went online to share their confusion and to determine whether the emails were indeed from the government.

Some said their posts did not feature any government logos, while others reported that they looked suspicious. Others were suspicious because the correspondence did not include a name or information specific to them, only a request for a refund. The wording of the emails was poorly structured, which created further confusion.

“You received more benefits than the amount for which you were eligible,” read an email sent by Service Canada.

Canadians who have received similar emails can verify the authenticity of their emails by contacting Service Canada online, in person, by phone or by email.

Canadians with an online profile with the CRA can log into their accounts and see any amount they owe.

Anyone who has been contacted with a refund request is encouraged to check with Service Canada or the CRA to see if they owe any money — and if so, exactly how much they owe — before making any payment in order to avoid mistakenly disbursing money to fraudsters.

Failure to pay may result in the CRA withholding some or all of an individual’s tax refunds or GST and HST credits until the amount owing is repaid.

Due dates vary by individual and are included in letters and emails sent by the government.

If a refund request has been sent, it is important to refund the amount to avoid legal action from the CRA. Before taking legal action, the CRA must make three attempts to give a verbal warning by telephone and provide written notice by mail.

Claims for refunds come at a difficult time for many Canadians. Inflation has caused a dramatic rise in the price of essentials such as groceries.

To reduce inflation, the Bank of Canada has raised interest rates twice this year, pushing up mortgage prices for many homeowners.

Rising interest rates have caused some concern among investors, as the S&P/TSX Composite Index has struggled since March and is steadily declining.

The combination of factors makes this a difficult time for many Canadians from a variety of financial backgrounds.

Refunds for prepayments are usually around $1,000. The government has offered repayment plan options for people who are unable to pay the full amount immediately.

For those who choose to take repayment plans, the minimum monthly payment option is $28.

A Reddit user, who opted to pay $100 a month for 10 months, expects to struggle because of this refund request.

“I’m going to be crippled financially making the July 1 payment because it’s my rent check,” they said.

Anyone who is unable to repay the amount requested may apply for assistance under the financial hardship provision if paying the debt “would deprive the debtor of the necessities of life, including housing, food , clothing, medical care and utilities such as water, electricity and heating. »

In these cases, the onus is on the person who owes the government money to contact the CRA to request relief.

If someone believes they were mistakenly asked to repay their debt, they can request a reconsideration within 30 days of receiving notice of the amount owed.

In difficult financial times, it is especially important to be wary of fraudulent emails. Government organizations and nonprofits like the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center and the Better Business Bureau are two trusted resources offering advice on how to protect yourself from digital scams.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

federal government

About Geraldine Higgins

Check Also

Why Mehracki (MKI) Will Become a Leading Meme Coin Like Dogecoin (DOGE)

When the first coin, DOGE, was released in 2013, it didn’t seem to show strong …