A Kamloops senior felt the sting, losing $8,000 to a familiar fraud that’s become known as the Canada Revenue Scam.
The scammer phoned the senior, 80, and told him there were errors on his 2015 tax return. If he didn’t purchase $4,000 worth of gift cards, two officers would come to his residence and arrest him.
The victim went to a local store and purchased gift cards and gave the authorization numbers to the fraudster on the phone. The scammer then demanded another $4,000 in gift cards.
Again, the victim purchased the cards and gave the authorization numbers. When the scammer asked for another $3,000 in gift cards, a store employee told the senior that he was being defrauded and police were called.
“It’s important that every family has a discussion about these types of phone calls,” said RCMP Cpl. Jodi Shelkie. “It’s especially important to talk about the scam with seniors and vulnerable people in your family.”
Despite the prevalence of the scam, many people are not aware of it, she said.
“Explain to them (the fraudster) that no one from the Canada Revenue Agency will call them on the phone, the CRA communicates through the mail. No one from any legitimate business will ever demand payment in gift cards or ask for money to be wired to them. And finally, no legitimate business will threaten arrest if payment is not made.”
If you or someone you know has been scammed, report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Agency, she added.
The CRA offers the following advice:
- Never give information about your passport, health card, or driver’s licence;
- Never share your taxpayer information with another person, unless you have provided the appropriate authorization; and
- Never leave personal information on your answering machine or comply with a request to leave a message containing your personal information on an answering machine.
When in doubt, ask yourself the following:
- Am I expecting money from the CRA?
- Does this sound too good to be true?
- Is the requester asking for information I would not include with my tax return?
- Is the requester asking for information I know the CRA already has on file for me?
- How did the requester get my email address or telephone number?
- Am I confident I know who is asking for the information?
- Is there a reason that the CRA may be calling? Do I have a tax balance outstanding?