Ottawa, ON – In the spring of 2020, the Canadian federal government introduce the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). Recipients included any citizen of working age who was put out of work due to the impact of the pandemic caused by the Corona virus. Recipients were entitled to up to $2000/month until restrictions were lifted.
While the pandemic has not ended, restrictions on the citizenry have, for the most part, been lifted. The Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) has been charged with a post-pandemic assessment of the eligibility of members of the workforce for CERB. The reclamation of some funds from numerous claimants has begun.
“So, I gets this letter in the traditional brown envelope from the CRA,” says William “Bill me” Freeloader, “And here I was thinking it’s my CERB cheque, but it ain’t!”
Freeloader had, in fact, received one of 1.7 million such letters mailed across the country.
“I was like holy shit! Martha, the wells gone dry,” Freeloader whined.
Freeloader wasn’t alone. Many recipients of the claw-back letter began to question its validity.
“The masthead (see above), resembles the artistry of the scammer,” proclaimed Richard “Don’t call me Dick” Richardson, “I figured I could have done better with MS Paint.”
Still others were concerned about the font, the colour of the ink, and the offer to click a hyperlink on a piece of paper.
“Yeah, this had scam written all over it”, added Richardson, but turns out, it wasn’t!”
Thousands of former CERB recipients were convinced it wasn’t legit.
When questioned, the fine people at CRA revealed the secret.
“At CRA we are proud of the work we do, but knew this reclamation was going to be a tough gig,” a spokesperson spoke under a cloud of anonymity. “However, we had heard of the overwhelming success of phishing schemes around the world, so thought we could catch quite a few Canadians with that style of appeal.”
When a follow-up query was presented, the spokesperson said, “”We continuously review client feedback about all of our communications, and this feedback informs the way we exchange information with clients. Thankfully many blindly forwarded their portions, so we were able to cover the cost of all the phone calls we had to receive. Here at CRA, we call that a win-win!”
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