The scammers are at it again, and, this time it involves the Canada Revenue Agency. A lady here in St. Marys got a phone call to say that taxes were owed and if not paid, her husband would be arrested for non-payment. She called us to warn others of the scam.
The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) issued a press release to remind residents once again to be aware of this active telephone tax scam that has duped several victims throughout the region. Just last week a Goderich resident fell victim to this scam and now she is out $4,680.
The victim received a call from a male that claimed he was working for the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The fraudster advised the victim that she was guilty of tax evasion and owed $4,800. She was warned that if she did not take care of the back taxes she would be arrested. The victim was instructed to pay the back taxes by sending the money through a money transfer service. The victim followed the caller’s instructions and sent $4,500 to the scammer. She also incurred a service charge for using the money transfer service.
Shortly thereafter, the fraudster called back to advise the victim the “Judge” did not accept the payment and now they needed her to send in a certified cheque for another $5,000. When the victim refused the caller told her they had an arrest warrant for her and that they would be at her house the next day to arrest her. At this point the caller spoke to a family member about the calls she had received. She then contacted police.
The tax scam will often involve the use of threatening, aggressive and forceful language to scare victims into paying a fictitious debt owed to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Victims often report they were threatened with court charges, arrests, deportation and jail time.
Another version of this scam involves the scammer telling the victim that they stand to receive a payment from the CRA for taxes owed. In order to receive the refund they must provide personal information such as a bank account number or a credit card number.
These types of calls are designed to create anxiety and shock for the unsuspecting resident. These feelings may lead victims to take action before thinking things through.
The OPP and the CRA provide the following tips to keep residents safe from this scam:
Do not take immediate action. Verify that what you are being told is the truth.
Ask yourself, why would the CRA be asking for personal information over the phone or in an email when they have that information on file for you as a taxpayer.
Contact the CRA to confirm that you in fact owe back taxes, or are entitled to a refund, before sending any personal information or banking information.
Never wire money to someone you do not personally know.
Hang up the phone if you get such a call and call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre to report the matter.