As income tax filing time draws near, police want to make sure CRA scam perpetrators don’t have your number.
March is Fraud Awareness Month and Nanaimo RCMP issued a warning about the CRA scam, a long-running favourite of fraudsters. The scam usually manifests as a phone call by someone impersonating a Canada Revenue Agency agent who claims a recent audit has identified discrepancies from past filed taxes.
The intended victim is threatened with arrest and seizure of assets if the outstanding bill isn’t paid within a short period of time. Payment is often demanded in iTunes gift cards or through an online money transfer service.
The scammers may make contact by telephone, Facebook, e-mail or text. People have also received e-mails initiating the fraud by indicating the victim is entitled to a tax refund.
Police advise people contact the Canadian Revenue Agency to confirm if back taxes are owed or if they are owed a tax refund. They note that the CRA would never request payment by money transfer service business or iTunes gift cards.
RCMP also advise that people never provide personal information on inbound phone calls, and should ask who is calling and document that information.
If personal or banking information is shared, contact Equifax or Trans Union and your financial institution to place fraud alerts on accounts. If money has been transferred to the scammer, contact police and report the incident.
“Many elderly persons may not be aware of this scam and sadly will fall prey to it,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, in a press release. “Please take the time to share your knowledge of this to prevent them from being the next victim of this nasty scam.”