Tuesday, April 19, 2016
More and More Reports of Scams Circulating Throughout Region
Many Canadians find themselves becoming scam victims thanks to the excitement of a surprise win or to claim a prize from a fake lottery, sweepstake, inheritance, or contest. Remember phone calls, letters, emails, text messages and pop-up messages appearing on your electronic devices may make claims that state the offer is legal and that there are relatively minor costs to claim a large sum of money; however, by responding, you may lose everything you send to a scammer and – if you have provided other personal details – your identity information could be stolen to support other crimes.
The OPP want you to confirm who you’re dealing with before sending any money anywhere, for any reason. In 2015, The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) fraud drew 15,091 complaints, resulting in 751 identified victims who lost a combined total of $2.49 million.
In the CRA scam, criminals extort money from their victims by telephone, mail, text message or email, a fraudulent communication that claims to be from the Canada Revenue Agency requesting personal information such as a social insurance number, credit card number, bank account number, or passport number. Fraudsters impersonate the real CRA by telephone or by email. Fraudsters are either “phishing” for your identification or asking that outstanding taxes be paid by a money transfer service or by pre-paid debit/credit cards. CRA fraudsters may also insist that your personal information is needed so that the taxpayer can receive a refund or a benefit payment. Cases of fraudulent communication could also involve threatening or coercive language to scare individuals into paying fictitious debt to the CRA. Other communications urge taxpayers to visit a fake CRA website where the taxpayer is then asked to verify their identity by entering personal information. These are all scams and taxpayers should never respond to these fraudulent communications nor click on any of the links provided. The actual CRA will never request a legitimate payment by phone, a money transfer service or by pre-paid debit/credit cards.
If you or someone you know suspect they’ve been a victim of fraud, contact your local police service, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), or online at https://www.tipsubmit.com/start.htm.