The Peterborough Police Service is warning residents not to fall victim to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) tax scam.
Within the past two days, the police have received around 10 complaints about the scam, in which a caller pretends to be a representative from CRA and demands some form of payment for outstanding taxes fictitiously owed to the federal government.
On June 27th, a person received a phone call from someone pretending to be with the CRA. The caller told the victim he owed $3,500 and, if he did not pay it by that afternoon, his assets would be seized and they would come and arrest him. Believing the threats to be real, the victim then made five money transfers totalling $2,400 using Flexpin, a money-wiring service. The victim then called back the number and provided the fake CRA agent with the security PINs to release the money.
More recently, on July 24th, a 71-year-old Cavan-Monaghan woman received a fraudulent phone call from someone stating she owed the CRA money. The caller instructed the woman to go to a local store to purchase $800 in gift cards. The victim purchased the gift cards and then relayed the numbers back to the caller. She was also told to get a loan from a bank to provide further money, but the loan application was denied and the call was later reported to police.
Variations on the CRA scam involve callers pretending to be other authority figures and demanding payment of taxes allegedly owing.
On July 26th, a 71-year-old Peterborough woman received a phone call from a man identifying himself as a police officer. The man told the woman she was behind on her taxes and owed money. The male then explained to the woman that she would be in trouble with “the law” if she didn’t pay.
The woman was told to go to her bank and withdraw cash then purchase gift cards and that another man would come by her house the next day to collect the money and gift cards. The woman obtained more than $5,000 in cash and gifts cards, but grew suspicious about the call and reported the incident to police.
Remember, the Canada Revenue Agency will never use aggressive language or tone, threaten to arrest you or send police if you owe taxes, or request payment by prepaid credit cards or gift cards. For more information on how to recognize CRA telephone or email scams, visit www.cra-arc.gc.ca/fraudprevention/.
If you receive a call from someone pretending to be from the CRA, do the following:
- Do not take any immediate action.
- Hang up and verify the information. Call a trusted family member, friend, or your bank to get a second opinion on the call.
- Verify the caller’s ID and the request by calling the CRA directly at 1-800-959-8281.
- Verify the status of your account by either going online at http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/myaccount/ or calling the CRA at 1-800-959-8281.
Elderly people are often most vulnerable to this type of scam. If you have an elderly parent, relative, or friend who you think could fall victim to this scam, share this information with them and ask them to call you if they ever receive a phone call or email from someone claiming to be from the CRA.