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Fraudsters demand payment in iTunes cards

July 14, 2016 11:27 A.M.

Extortionist fraudsters appear to playing a different tune, threatening people with deportation if they don’t pay for music downloads.

Kamloops RCMP issued a new warning Thursday after recent incidents in which scam artists impersonate immigration officers and demand significant amounts of payment in iTunes cards. The perpetrators will call or email tell the victim that they or their family may be deported if payment is not made immediately.  

“We work too hard for the money we earn,” said Cpl. Jodi Shelkie. “Part of that work involves remaining ever vigilant to the schemes of criminals who would have us unwittingly hand our money over to them.”

She compared it to the more commonly reported Canada Revenue Agency trick, where fraud artists demand payment or personal information while posing as government representatives. More of those calls, aggressive and threatening, were received in Kamloops earlier in the week.

If asked to pay for any service or product with an iTunes gift card, refuse the request. Furthermore, immigration officers do not have the power to deport anyone without proper authority, police said.

Burnaby RCMP reported a similar fraud last week that combined the two deceptions. That detachment’s economic crime unit became aware of the incident after a woman reported it June 29. The 22-year-old, new to the country, was unfamiliar with how Canadian tax laws work. She received a call from someone claiming to be from the CRA, informing her she owed money and that she would have to pay the debt in the form of iTunes gift cards or risk being thrown in jail and deported.

Investigators said she purchased thousands of dollars in iTunes gift cards, which were turned over to the suspects via SnapChat. The victim lost all but $100 because the card numbers were redeemed. At the scammer’s urging, the victim purchased a further $1,000 in gift cards, this time from Shopper’s Drug Mart. Fortunately, those gift cards were not redeemed and will be refunded to the victim.

Police ask people to report any suspected scams to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

Craig Richardson says:
July 15, 2016 03:13pm

Wow... native to the country or not, you have to think someone, at some point, would smarten up and realise governments don't take payments in iTunes gift cards. And for the "buying thousands of dollars" worth of them, the merchant also deserves a slap on the wrist for this as well - they should have either questioned it, and/or politely explained once finding out about their alleged phone call from the CRA.


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