North Island – Powell River MP Rachel Blaney is warning residents of Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) phone scams happening in the North Island.
“We have had a recent increase in reporting from constituents from across the riding talking about getting a lot of scam phone calls from somebody pretending to be from the Canada Revenue Agency,” said Blaney in an April 23 media conference call.
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) warns that fraudsters often threaten consumers saying that failure to pay will result in additional fees, jail time or deportation.
They may request payment via money service business, pre-paid cards, gift cards or bitcoin.
“We are reminding people that Canada Revenue agency does not have the right to suddenly arrest you,” said Blaney.
CAFC states that in most cases the CRA will use registered mail to contact consumers not email or phone and that the CRA will never request payment by money services, gift cards, or bitcoin.
“If you are not sure it’s Canada Revenue Agency you have every right to hang up the phone and call Canada Revenue Agency directly,” said Blaney, adding that she is concerned for vulnerable residents who may think they owe money when they do not.
“In some cases, we are seeing texts being sent of someone saying they have money to deposit into their accounts from the CRA,” said Blaney, adding “We are asking people to please be careful.”
CAFC confirms that fraudsters may send an email or text message indicating a refund is pending from the CRA. The email includes a link that directs victims to a fraudulent website that looks like the actual CRA website.
People are then asked to fill in their personal information such as their Social Insurance Number, Date of Birth, and banking information before receiving the refund by email money transfer.
Victims who input their personal information are subject to identity fraud and no refund is ever issued.
CAFC states the public should contact the CRA directly to confirm that they either owe back taxes or are entitled to a refund and to never provide personal information over the telephone, by text, or email.
“Canada Revenue doesn’t operate this way. You should call the Anti-Fraud centre. They are equipped to deal with this all the time and need to know when something is happening that is not legit,” said Blaney.
Those who receive a suspicious phone call or text message should call the Anti-fraud Centre right away at 1-888-495-8501.
For more information on fraud and prevention visit the Government of Canada anti-fraud website at www.antifraudcentre.ca
– with files from www.antifraudcentre.ca