If you haven’t heard about the telephone scam where the caller claims to be from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) but is not, please read on and spread the word to family and friends. 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.
Some recent telephone scams involve threatening taxpayers or using aggressive and forceful language to scare them into paying fictitious debt to the CRA. Victims 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.
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.
CRA – 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.
Police – If the caller identifies themselves as a police officer, obtain their name and badge number and tell the caller you will phone them back through the non-emergency number of the police agency where you live. Make sure you obtain this number through verified channels, such as the White Pages of your phone book or a police agency website.
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.