As Fraud Awareness Month continues we would like to highlight an increase in the number of Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) related scams.
It also happens to be tax time when we see an even higher increase in this type of scam. Those who hope to scam residents out of their cash under the guise of the CRA are always coming up with new tactics as more and more people educate themselves about the fraud.
The typical CRA scam involves someone calling your home phone number and claiming to be from Revenue Canada. They indicate your account is in arrears and if action isn't taken immediately, you will be arrested. You are directed to either send cash, or purchase iTunes gift cards and send them as a means of payment. These scammers seem very legitimate and sadly unsuspecting residents lose thousands of dollars as result.
The scammers are also starting to contact people via their cellphones, something that was seldom done in the past. They may reference account or personal information in order to sound more legitimate. In a new twist, they may change their story and indicate they are calling from your bank. The scammer indicates someone has accessed your account and they need your help to catch the culprit. They say they've deposited a certain amount of money into your account and all you have to do is wire a portion of it to a number provided. Of course no money is deposited, and the funds often end up in another country never to be seen again.
The scammers may even target the same person again encouraging them they are very close to catching the culprit and just need their help one more time. They are very aggressive and can be extremely convincing. It's important not to engage them, hang up the phone and report the incident.
Scammers are also beginning to use text messaging to make contact, something the CRA would never do.
Because the scam keeps changing and often crosses international borders it continues to be a huge issue for investigators. The best thing people can do is educate themselves and spread the word about these scams. Make sure you are telling friends and family members, especially seniors that these calls are fakes. The CRA or a bank will never call you requesting information or asking you to send money or gift cards.
You should report deceptive telemarketing to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
Anyone wishing to report a fraud in Durham Region is asked to contact Durham Regional Police at 1-888-579-1520.
CRA Scams (JPG file, 213.7K bytes)