CRA scams pick up with tax season: RCMP
Cranbrook RCMP is informing the public of an ongoing scam with regard to Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
“If you haven’t heard about the telephone scam, the caller claims to be from the Canada Revenue Agency. This scam is becoming a growing concern for the RCMP in British Columbia as we are receiving numerous complaints daily and the numbers keep growing. Knowing exactly what to do should it happen to you is very important to prevent identity and financial theft,” said Cst. Katie Forgeron of Cranbrook RCMP.
People receive a phone call from a person claiming to work for the CRA and saying that taxes are owed. The caller requests immediate payment by credit card or convinces the victims to purchase a prepaid credit card (the CRA never requests prepaid credit cards) and to call back immediately with the information. The taxpayer is often threatened with court charges, jail or deportation, she explained.
“A new twist on this scheme is that the caller is advising people that if they buy iTunes cards and provide the numbers to the person on the phone that they will avoid arrest and other sanctions. Suspects are also saying they are members of the local RCMP detachment and that a warrant will be issued for their arrest. If the caller identifies themselves as a police officer, obtain their name and badge number,” Forgeron advised.
“The Canada Revenue Agency would never ask someone to purchase anything, let alone iTunes gift cards. This is a scam. Hang up the phone.”
This scam has been successful because the caller is very aggressive, and if hung up on, will continually call back. Due to the advancement in computer technology/hacking, the calls are sometimes being routed through systems that can display any phone number the scammer chooses, which in recent cases, has been the local RCMP Detachment phone number, from the area where the call is received, she said.
If you want to confirm that a CRA representative has contacted you, call the CRA at 1-800-959-8281 for individual concerns or 1-800-959-5525 for business-related calls.
Individuals should be vigilant when they receive, either by telephone, mail, text message or email, a fraudulent communication that claims to be from the CRA and is requesting personal information. To find out more information about how you can protect yourself from fraud and to hear an example of a real scam telephone call, visit; www.cra-arc.gc.ca/fraudprevention.
If you suspect that you have been contacted by a scammer, note the phone number showing on call display and contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, toll free at 1-888-495-8501 or online at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.