Fraud continues to be a major concern for police agencies across Canada and Alberta. Recently, RCMP released a warning about an ongoing telephone fraud from a culprit pretending to be calling on behalf of the federal government.
Wetaskiwin RCMP stated they have received complaints locally about this fraud. “…we received several complaints today from citizens receiving calls from ‘Revenue Canada’ claiming that their was a warrant for the person’s arrest as they owed an outstanding amount to them,” stated Porterfield in a July 10 press release.
“This is indeed a scam. There are more details and information for citizens at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.”
Cst. Michelle Mosher stated that ongoing fraud involves people who can become belligerent. “RCMP are continuing to warn the public of telephone scams that have been occurring in the area and across Canada,” stated Mosher.
“The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is noting an increase in telephone scams where the caller claims to be from the CRA but is not, and is asking Canadians to beware—these calls are fraudulent and could result in identity and financial theft.
“Some recent telephone scams involve threatening taxpayers or using aggressive and forceful language to scare them into paying fictitious debt to the CRA. Victims receive a phone call from a person claiming to work for the CRA and saying that taxes are owed. The caller requests immediate payment by credit card or convinces the victims to purchase a prepaid credit card and to call back immediately with the information. The taxpayer is often threatened with court charges, jail or deportation.
“If you get such a call, hang up and report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
“These types of communication are not from the CRA. When the CRA calls you, it has established procedures in place to make sure your personal information is protected. If you want to confirm the authenticity of a CRA telephone number, call the CRA by using the numbers on its telephone numbers page. The number for business-related calls is 1-800-959-5525. The number for calls about individual concerns is 1-800-959-8281.
To help you identify possible scams, remember the CRA never requests prepaid credit cards, never asks for information about your passport, health card, or driver’s license, never shares your taxpayer information with another person, unless you have provided the appropriate authorization; and never leaves personal information on your answering machine or asks you to leave a message containing your personal information on an answering machine.
When in doubt, ask yourself the following: Is there a reason that the CRA may be calling? Do I have a tax balance outstanding? 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?
The CRA has strong practices to protect the confidentiality of taxpayer information. The confidence and trust that individuals and businesses have in the CRA is a cornerstone of Canada’s tax system. For more information about the security of taxpayer information and other examples of fraudulent communications, go to www.cra.gc.ca/security.
Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
The CAFC has a great archive of information to protect consumers from fraud.
Directory scam: Businesses receive an invoice for a directory, publication or listing that they did not order or authorize. Fraudsters will place a call to the business and speak to employee and ask to confirm details such as the company’s address, telephone number and other particulars. An invoice is sent to the company and often payment is made by the accounting department not realizing the company never ordered or agreed to pay for the directory. The fraudster may tape record the initial conversation and use that against the company to verify the purchase of the directory.
How to protect yourself: Educate employees at every level to be wary of unsolicited calls. Post notices and discuss during staff meetings. Also, compile a list of companies that are typically used by your business, give authority to only a number of staff to approve purchases and pay bills.
Romance scam: In 2011, romance scams emerged as highest grossing scam, with over $12 million in losses reported by Canadians. This scam has also lead to incidents of suicide in cases where victims have lost their life savings and have been emotionally destroyed. These scams have proliferated with the increase use of social media – social networking sites and dating sites. These sites are most common with scams that require a level of trust between the victim and the fraudster.
Some incidents have also occurred at the local level and involved the victims actually meeting the suspects to go out on dates and meeting at the victim’s residence. These cases are creating concerns for personal safety. For example, in one incident the victim reported having her wallet and some jewellery stolen from her home.
How to protect yourself: Watch for red lights such as a distressed family member worried about a loved one; Talking about good friend or loved one in another country that is coming to visit or needs help; Mentions Western Union or MoneyGram; Frequenting the bank more often; Making unusual withdrawals both in amounts and frequency; Making multiple withdrawals ranging from $500‐ $3,000 in cash and; Making large dollar wire transfers to countries in Africa, Asia or eastern Europe.
For information on scams or to report deceptive telemarketing contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca or toll free at 1-888-495-8501. If you believe you may be the victim of fraud or have given personal or financial information unwittingly, contact your local RCMP.