Revenue Canada scams continue to affect Calgarians
The Calgary Police Service Economic Crimes Unit is alerting the public once again to the growing trend of Canada Revenue Agency scams.
Since February of this year, the Calgary Police Service has been notified of nearly 120 attempts to solicit funds. Approximately 20 victims have sent money, ranging from several hundred to several thousand dollars. In 2014, 35 victims lost approximately $60,000.
These types of scams are almost exclusively done via telephone calls to the victim’s home phone, however they have also occurred via email. During phone solicitations, the offenders demand to stay on the line with the victim, claiming they work for the Canada Revenue Agency.
The culprits often make threats that unpaid fees, or taxes, will result in the victim going to jail or being deported if the debt is not paid. The victim is then directed to pay the purported debt through e-transfer, money wire transfer or the purchase of pre-paid gift cards, which they are directed to mail to a specific address.
Police encourage victims of these crimes to call the Calgary Police non-emergency line at 403-266-1234. Anyone who may have other information about these scams is asked to contact the non-emergency number, or Crime Stoppers anonymously using any of the following methods: TALK: 1-800-222-8477, TYPE: www.calgarycrimestoppers.org, TEXT: tttTIPS to 274637.
Citizens can help protect themselves using the following practices:
- Do not feel pressure to respond to a request until you have a chance to verify the story.
- Never transfer money, or give out credit card or other financial information, until you can verify the person’s identity and the story, and determine whether it is legitimate.
- Look up published numbers for the CRA in the phone book and confirm the legitimacy of the caller’s story.
- Don’t believe what you see. Business logos, websites and email addresses can easily be duplicated to look legitimate.
- Watch for poor grammar and spelling.
- Contact the business directly to legitimize the communication before you take any action. Search online to get contact information from an official source.
- Hover your mouse over links to check their true destination. If the URL doesn’t match the link, or seems suspicious, don’t click on it.
- Be wary of unexpected emails that contain links or attachments from unknown senders.
- Update your computer’s anti-virus software.
- Ignore calls for immediate action or messages that create a sense of urgency.
- Beware of Phishing emails posing as the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) requesting personal information, or links within an email re-directing to a fraudulent website that appears to represent the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The CRA does not email Canadians and request personal information.
- Never provide personal information such as SIN, bank account information or credit card numbers.