An old scam has surfaced again in the North Okanagan.
Police say there’s been a notable increase in victims being conned out of cash by the Canada Revenue Agency scam.
That’s where a caller claims to be from the agency — or is an accountant — and uses threatening or aggressive language to scare the recipient into paying large fictitious debts to the CRA.
“The suspect usually requests immediate payment by credit card or will convince the victim to purchase bitcoin and demand they pay the funds immediately at the location requested,” says Cst. Kelly Brett. “The taxpayer is often threatened with court charges, jail or even deportation.”
Recently, the victims have been presented with personal information about family, friends and workplaces, making the caller more believable.
“Personal information is being gained by the suspect through numerous facets, such as social media and web based accounts,” says Brett.
The CRA advises people to confirm the status of their tax accounts before taking any action that may be the result of pressure from suspicious calls or emails, and to verify the legitimacy of the communication by contacting the CRA directly at 1-800-959-8281;
The CRA will never request prepaid credit cards or bitcoins, and it will not send emails containing details of a tax refund or Interac e-transfer payments;
The CRA will never ask for information about your passport, health services card or driver’s licence;
The CRA will never leave personal information on your voicemail service;
If you’ve shared personal information, contact Equifax and Trans Union to place fraud alerts on your account;
If you’ve shared banking information with a scammer, contact your financial institution to place alerts on your accounts.
You don’t need to call your local RCMP detachment if you have only received a scam phone call.
Hanging up the phone is the best course of action you can take.
Call your local police only if you have been victimized by the scam.
For more information on fraud prevention, please visit the BC RCMP Website at:http://www.bc.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/ViewPage.action?siteNodeId=178&languageId=1&contentId=-1 or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at www.antifraudcentre.ca