There’s one major scam intensifying in Alberta right now, and it plays off the average citizen’s dislike of the taxman.
The RCMP HQ in Ottawa this week sent out a press release asking for the media’s help in alerting the public about the “CRA scam,” also known as the “Canadian Revenue Agency” scam. The fraud revolves around a phone call, or possibly email, where an authoritative person confronts the caller about an unpaid tax bill.
The Leduc/Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer, with the help of both Wetaskiwin and Leduc RCMP detachments, has been running stories and opinion pieces since last summer about this scam in an effort to protect local residents. However, the scammers involved obviously take pride in their work and aren’t giving up without a fight.
It works like this: the scammers phone up local residents out of the blue. The caller then says “You better clear this debt up, or we’re sending the RCMP to arrest you, you wanna go to jail?” or something very similar. Of course, most people are law-abiding citizens and the average person does have a healthy respect for the federal government’s tax arm. If you or someone in your family has ever been audited, you know exactly why people have a healthy respect for the taxman.
The caller then directs the victim to send money in various ways, including confidential banking information which gives the scammers an opening into a victim’s bank accounts. This is what they want.
First off, readers should always trust their instincts. If you get a strange phone call and feel like you’re being scammed, you probably are.
Secondly, it’s not rude to hang up on scammers, telemarketers and other peddlers. They couldn’t care less about you, and you should treat them the same way. In fact, some are criminals trying to steal your hard-earned money. You are not obligated to be nice to them, or even say anything to them.
Thirdly, if you are in serious tax problems with the federal government, you will receive notice in the mail through proper documentation. They won’t phone and threaten you with arrest.