The RCMP issued a warning today in the wake of an influx of complaints from residents who have been contacted by individuals claiming to be with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and threatening criminal investigation or possible arrest for unpaid taxes.
These types of communications, whether via telephone, email or texts, are fraudulent. When the CRA contacts you they will never do any of the following:
- Ask for personal information by email or text message;
- Request payment by prepaid credit card or wire transfer;
- Share your tax information with another person or organization unless you agree that it can be shared;
- Leave personal information on an answering machine; or,
- Threaten or use nasty language.
A popular technique for scammers to use is caller ID spoofing. This allows the criminal to disguise their calls. The call will appear to be coming from local or familiar numbers like the CRA or police to trick you into answering the phone and trusting the caller. Here are the warning signs and tips on how to protect yourself:
- Don't trust your call display. It may say "Police" or "CRA" but, in reality, it is actually a scammer.
- If you get a call from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency seeking personal information, hang up. Call the phone number provided on your account statement, in the phone book or on the company or government agency's website to verify the authenticity of the request.
- Never give out personal information such as account numbers, social insurance number (SIN), mother's maiden name, passwords or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls.
Residents are reminded to be vigilant when they receive calls or messages of this nature. Do not respond or give out any personal information and contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre toll free at 1-888-495-8501 or online at www.antifraudcentre.ca.