Police are once again warning residents to be on their guard for a telephone scam targeting area residents.
Sicamous RCMP say they’ve received several reports from individuals who have received calls from someone claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency.
“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,” warn police. “Knowing exactly what to do should it happen to you is very important to prevent identity and financial theft.”
Some of the recent telephone scams involve the threatening of taxpayers or use aggressive and forceful language to scare people into paying a 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,” say police. “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.
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. If the caller identifies themself 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 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.