As tax season closes, the Regina Police Service is once again warning Regina residents of the CRA scam attempts that occur throughout the year. As taxpayers submit their information, fraudsters who impersonate the Canada Revenue Agency attempt to take advantage of this timing to appear legitimate to potential victims through phone or email contact.
The Canada Revenue Agency issues its own warnings about these phone and e-mail frauds: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/scrty/frdprvntn/menu-eng.html. In one type of typical attempt, the caller says that the recipient is under investigation and he or she must cooperate or his/her Social Insurance Number will be “flagged” or compromised. The caller’s aggressive manner causes the victim to stay on the phone, or call back. Then the conversation typically leads to the victim revealing personal identification information or financial information, or even agreeing to pay some fictitious debt. If the “pitch” comes by e-mail, the recipient is urged to respond or click on links provided in the e-mail. Similar scams are also attempted via text message. The Canada Revenue Agency advises that they do not conduct business in this way and invite people to contact them directly if they have questions about their own accounts. Canada Revenue Agency does not request or issue payment by money-transfer services (such as Interac e-Transfer), gift cards (such as iTunes cards), or digital currency (such as BitCoin).
Scams like this are successful because people react out of fear and confusion. Always take time to ask questions and then take more time to do an independent verification of the information you’ve received. To report the existence or recurrence of phone scams contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (1-888-495-8501) to make a report. Anyone who has been a victim of this type of scam, or any other, is asked to come into the Front Desk of the Regina Police Service to make a report. More information about recognizing scams is available at http://www.reginapolice.ca/resources/crime/crime-prevention-tips/recognize-a-scam/.