RCMP warn resurgence of CRA tax scam

RCMP warn resurgence of CRA tax scam

More than 30 reports from Central Alberta were made last week regarding the scam

The tax season is once again upon us, and with it comes the nasty CRA tax scam.

RCMP have reported more than 30 calls from scammers to Central Albertans have occurred in the last week.

Each call follows the same model with a voice on the other end claiming the victim owes money to Canada Revenue Agency demanding payment in untraceable wire transfers, gift cards, Steam cards (an online game), prepaid credit cards or bitcoin.

RCMP say there is some variation to the type of call being made. Sometimes the call uses pre-recorded messages, other times numerous calls from a person who continues to increase the level of their threats of arrest or deportation in ongoing attempts to pressure their victims into sending money.

There have also been recent incidents where the scammer calls back after successfully victimizing a person once, demanding even more money this time, according to Red Deer RCMP.

“One Red Deer complainant reported that their phone display showed the Red Deer RCMP complaint line number, and that the scammer claimed to have a warrant from the Alberta RCMP for their arrest. This false use of a legitimate name or phone number is commonly used by scammers – it’s called number spoofing,” reads a press release from the Red Deer RCMP.

No matter the variation in the approach scammers take, key facts are always the same:

· Even if you do owe money to Canada Revenue Agency, they do NOT accept payment in gift cards, by wire transfer or by bitcoin. No legitimate agency does.

· Any legitimate caller will encourage you to call back independently to verify their claim. Do NOT call back to a number the caller gives you. Look up CRA or the appropriate agency and call them yourself.

· If police call you, they will give you verifiable facts including a file number and their name and rank. If you get a threatening phone call claiming to represent police and asking for money, ask for those verifiable facts, hang up and call your local police detachment to check.

· Remember that scammers frequently use “number spoofing” to make it look like their call is coming from a legitimate organization.

“Check your facts and do your research, and be alert to red flags such as anyone demanding payment through gift cards or pre-paid credit cards. Then, when you get a call from a scammer, hang up and ignore them,” said Corporal Karyn Kay of the Red Deer RCMP.

Everyone is urged to ask questions and to be skeptical of phone calls from anyone demanding money.

Receiving a phone call from these scammers does not need to be reported to the RCMP. A report only needs to be made if you have fallen victim to the scam.

RCMP advise you to hang up the phone if you believe it to be a scam.

“These scammers are usually located outside of Canada, making it impossible for RCMP to locate them,” the press release says.

Learn more about how to recognize and protect yourself from fraud at www.antifraudcentre.ca.



megan.roth@sylvanlakenews.com

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