Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) scams are “alive and well” in Burns Lake, according to staff sergeant Charlotte Peters with the Burns Lake RCMP.
“Anybody who pays taxes could potentially be a victim,” she said.
The Burns Lake detachment receives an average of five complaints a day about CRA scams.
The scammers usually tell their victims they have an outstanding debt to the CRA, and that the police will issue a warrant for their arrest if they do not pay.
Although sgt. Peters hasn’t seen any cases of locals losing money, a local resident recently withdrew money from her bank account and was ready to pay the scammers. This person contacted the RCMP before making the payment, so the RCMP was able to intervene.
“It’s making people really nervous,” said sgt. Peters. “So people should have no hesitation calling the police.”
According to the CRA, taxpayers should be vigilant when they are contacted by an organization – either by telephone, mail, text message or e-mail – that claims to be from CRA, requesting personal information such as a credit card number, bank account number or passport number.
“These are scams and taxpayers should never respond to these fraudulent communications or click on any of the links provided,” said Colette Turgeon, a spokesperson with CRA.
The best way for someone to verify their tax situation is to contact the CRA independently using a phone number that was not provided by the caller.
You can verify that the employee works for the CRA or that the agency did contact you by calling CRA directly at 1-800-959-8281 for individuals or 1-800-959-5525 for businesses.
According to the CRA, other fraudulent communications include urging taxpayers to visit a fake CRA website where the taxpayer is then asked to verify their identity by entering personal information.
The CRA says the agency will never ask for information such as credit card, health card or passport numbers. In addition, the CRA never threatens to lay criminal charges against people who don’t pay their taxes.
Every year, Canadians lose millions of dollars to telephone phishing scams that result in identity and financial theft.
If a telephone scammer uses threats to coerce you into providing personal information, ignore the call and report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online at www.antifraudcentre.ca or by calling 1-888-495-8501.
Individuals who suspect they may be the victim of fraud or have been tricked into giving personal or financial information should contact the Burns Lake RCMP at 250-692-7171.