March is “Fraud Prevention Month” and it’s no coincidence that it is also ‘Tax Season’ in Canada. People are still falling for the scam where they receive a phone call from someone purporting to be from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)– asking them to provide personal banking information or even asking them to go to their bank to send money to them.
There are even cases where the caller asks the victim to go out and purchase iTunes cards, or Google Play cards and send them on as payment for tax arrears. To most people, this is an obvious example of a scam but to some people, the threat of going to jail for unpaid taxes can be a very scary and intimidating situation. Most people are too embarrassed to report that they fell prey to this type of scam and it’s estimated that only 5% of phone scams are reported.
So, to be clear…
The CRA will never
set up a meeting with you in a public place to take a payment
demand immediate payment by Interac e-transfer, bitcoin, prepaid credit cards or gift cards from retailers such as iTunes, Amazon, or others
threaten you with arrest or a prison sentence
Also, the CRA never uses text messages or instant messaging such as Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp to communicate with taxpayers under any circumstance. If a taxpayer receives text or instant messages claiming to be from the CRA, they are scams!
If you know someone who may be vulnerable to this type of scam, Crime Stoppers urges you to have a conversation with them – filling them in on the importance of verifying the identity of callers who are trying to separate them from their money. It is very possible that the caller is using one scam or another.
Other scams are known as ‘The Loan Scam’ – the ‘Tech Support Scam’- the ‘Service Scam’ or the ‘Extortion Scam’ but the common denominator is that the victim is being manipulated by an unknown person who has one goal in mind… getting money from them.
Contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre toll free at 1-888-495-8501 if you think you’ve been the victim of one of these scams or if you’d like more information on this topic.
More information can also be found online on the following websites…