Locally, residents have been targeted by scammers claiming to be from Canada Revenue Agency and the Red Deer RCMP continue to make people aware that these types of scams are taking place.
Taxpayers across the country receive phone calls or emails from individuals impersonating CRA employees in this ongoing scam. The scammers tell taxpayers that they either owe money to the CRA or have a tax refund. Taxpayers are threatened with arrest or jail time if they do not take immediate action and provide money or personal or financial information.
“There is not a legitimate government agency that will demand payment in gift cards or credit cards or even demand information from you,” said Red Deer RCMP Cpl. Karyn Kay. “If it was a government agency, you would have received some type of letter from them – you would know something is coming and you wouldn’t just get a phone call.
“Out of anyone the government is going to be the most legitimate.”
Kay added if a Red Deerian gets a phone call from a scammer, it is important to notify the police right away.
“We need to know about it,” she said. “Even though you know that it is a scam, you need to let us know that it is happening.”
She added there are a number of things to remember if any Red Deerians receive this call.
“Never, ever give your banking information out unless you have initiated the call. The scammers are number spoofing so it’s important that someone doesn’t take that number and call them back,” said Kay. “And the biggest thing is don’t give into pressure – they are just on the phone – if they want to be mad or threatening we don’t have to give into that. We are still safe in our own homes.”
Last week, the RCMP headquarters in Ottawa sent out a press release warning Canadians of this very scam.
“The CRA takes these matters very seriously and provides substantial information to Canadians about how to protect themselves from scams undertaken using the CRA’s name. Informing yourself is particularly important during the tax filing season, when such scams peak,” said the Hon. Diane Lebouthillier, minister of National Revenue. This information, including examples of real scam telephone calls and e-mails, can be easily found on the CRA web site.
“Scammers are always looking for new ways to get your money or your personal information,” said Assistant Commissioner Todd Shean, who leads the RCMP’s Federal Policing Special Services. “The RCMP works every day to track down fraudsters and bring them to justice, but raising awareness about fraud is also important as it is one of the most effective ways of protecting Canadians from scammers. The more you know about a specific fraud, the less likely you’ll be a victim of that fraud.”
The RCMP plays a crucial role in educating the public about scams, and has a number of programs in place to track fraud, including one run by the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC). The CAFC monitors all types of scams, and warns Canadians to be on the lookout for scammers during the upcoming tax season. The RCMP also works closely with the CRA to raise awareness about tax-related scams.
When CRA employees call taxpayers, they follow established procedures to ensure personal information is protected. To confirm the authenticity of a call, contact the CRA by using its official telephone number for individual tax inquiries: 1-800-959-8281. You can also verify your individual tax account through a secure CRA portal: My Account.
If you believe you may be the victim of fraud or have given personal or financial information in error, call the RCMP at 403-343-5575.