The Prince George RCMP are again warning the public about a fraud that continues to plague residents of Prince George.
Fraudsters impersonating employees of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will call (or e-mail) the victim providing one of a few different stories.
These scenarios are all designed to get the victim to send some form of payment to the fraudsters, posing as Canada Revenue Agents.
In most local cases the fraudster states that the payment must be made immediately or an arrest warrant will be issued (or already has been issued) and the RCMP will arrest them. This is not the case.
The instructions are usually to wire the money using a money wiring company. In some cases victims are asked to purchase cash cards, department store gift cards, iTunes gift cards or some other form of payment, and forward them to the fraudsters. This should be an obvious sign of fraud as the Canadian government would never make such a request. Wiring money is untraceable and irreversible. Similarly, purchasing cash cards and providing the scammers with the card number and security number would be very difficult to trace.
The fraudsters keep calling and are very aggressive. If you pay, they call more often and try to get you to send more money. It is common for victims to wire money multiple times and in some cases wire money to locations outside of Canada.
In legitimate cases where people owe money, there are processes in place to allow payment or dispute long before any warrants are issued and the police are involved. If you are hearing about this alleged debt for the first time, the police will not be coming for you. If you get these calls or e-mails, call the Canada Revenue Agency before you do anything else.
The Prince George RCMP have also received reports of a similar fraud where the criminal poses as an immigration officer and threatens deportation if money isn’t sent. In one case, the fraudster attempted to gain the victims Social Insurance Number. Again, contact the Canada Border Services Agency, do not send money and do not provide personal information.
In order to avoid tax scams, remember the following general words of advice:
- Do not take immediate action. The government has processes in place to acquire owed money, none of which are immediate;
- Know who you are dealing with. Obtain their contact information and search it on the internet.Often the contact info will be associated to frauds and not the CRA. This is a clear warning that this is not legitimate;
- Hang-up and call the Canada Revenue Agency’s (or other government agency) toll free phone number in the Blue Pages of the phone book or from their website, www.cra-arc.gc.ca.
- Never give your personal information to anyone that calls you over the phone.This is especially the case when an organization such as the Canada Revenue Agency calls and should have all your necessary information already;
- The Canada Revenue Agency will not send an e-mail with a link and ask for personal information. If you receive one, do not divulge personal or financial information;
- Never agree to wire back funds to the government or purchase cash cards.
For more information about Fraud Scams involving the CRA visit the Canada Revenue Agency Web page at http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/scrty/frdprvntn/menu-eng.html.
For more information on common frauds in Canada, go to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website or click http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/fraud-escroquerie/index-eng.htm.
If you have any information about fraud offences in Prince George, please contact the Prince George RCMP at (250)561-3300.