Alberta RCMP have received a significant number of reports in the past several weeks from residents who have received phone calls from individuals claiming to be from Canada Revenue Agency. The callers claim that the potential victim owes money in taxes which must be paid as soon as possible. The phone calls are high pressure in nature and, in some cases; the victim is threatened with arrest if the amounts are not paid.
This scam is not new and it resurfaces every year during tax season. The relatively recent practice of “call spoofing” over the internet has breathed new life into this crime by making the call display of victims falsely read either a local number or the official number of the Canada Revenue Agency.
Here are a few safety tips to assist:
- No legitimate government agency or business will demand payment in gift cards or prepaid credit cards. These methods are used by criminals in order to hide their activities from police;
- If you receive a call from someone claiming you owe money, get as much information from them as possible and tell them you will call them back. Find the government agencies’ phone number through a trusted source (phone book, or official website) and call the department back. Don’t trust the phone number or email from the caller until you have verified that they are who they say they are;
- Do not share any personal information with the caller, such as confirm name, social insurance number, address, etc.…
The best protection from scammers is to learn how to resist being pushed into a decision regardless of how persuasive or aggressive the scammer may be. Arm yourself and the vulnerable people in your life by learning how to recognize and protect yourself from fraud at Canada’s Anti-Fraud Centre. www.antifraudcentre.ca and http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/scrty/frdprvntn/menu-eng.html.
Please report any attempts of this kind to the Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.