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‘Identical fake’ PayBC government website sparks warning

Province says site created by ‘malicious actors’ to steal personal and financial information

The British Columbia government is warning people about a scam involving its PayBC website, where an “identical fake website” is collecting personal and credit card information.

The PayBC site gives residents a secure place to pay their bills or for services from the provincial government, but it says it has become aware of phishing attempts against users.

A statement from the government says the two sites can’t be told apart, although the website addresses are different.

It says the site was created by “malicious actors” to steal personal and financial information.

The Ministry of Finance provided an example of the scam texted to a person’s cellphone that says, “our automated speeding system has caught your vehicle doing 46 kilometers per hour in a 30 kilometers per hour zone.”

The text then provides the fake website address, saying the person can pay the ticket without a court at that site.

A spokeswoman for the ministry says the province has never utilized an “automated speeding system,” and neither the province nor the Insurance Corporation of B.C. sends text messages to people about traffic violation tickets or payment requests.

Nanaimo RCMP also sent out a statement Monday, warning people not to fall for the “speeding ticket text scam” after receiving numerous calls from people who had received the texts about speeding in a school zone.

The fake website shares a similar logo and identical fonts with PayBC’s actual site and once people click on the “pay now” button, they’ll be asked to provide credit card information and their name and home address, said Const. Gary O’Brien, the media relations officer at the detachment.

“It’s just another scam to get a hold of your money via your credit card. Just delete it but afterwards make sure you share the text message with friends and family so they don’t fall for it,” he said in a statement.

The government said people need to be vigilant against such phishing attempts and to make sure they are in the proper website address.

They say those paying on a website should never pay or offer personal information unless they have verified the legitimacy of the website.

O’Brien said “dozens of individuals” in Okanagan also received the same text, promoting Kelowna RCMP to issue a statement.

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