Calgary police warn against CRA scam
If you believe that you've been defrauded of money, or receive a phone call or email you think may be a scam, contact the Calgary Police Service
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As tax returns begin to trickle in, the Calgary Police Service wants to remind Calgarians to be on guard for scammers pretending to represent the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
The scam in question is known as the CRA Scam. Police said individuals are contacted over the phone or by emails and are informed by someone pretending to be a CRA employee that they either have a refund waiting or owe unpaid taxes.
According to police, if it’s a refund, they’re asked to provide personal or financial information in order to get their money.
If it’s a debt, the person is asked to pay it immediately either through money wire transfer, e-transfer or large quantity of pre-paid gift cards.
Police have said that the scammers can often be quite aggressive and may even threaten to have someone arrested or deported if they don’t pay the fake debt immediately.
“Victims have been defrauded of thousands of dollars through these techniques,” said the CPS in a prepared statement.
TIPS FROM POLICE:
- The CRA will not ask for payment via prepaid credit cards, gift cards or wire transfer.
- The CRA does not email or text Canadians and request personal or financial information.
- The CRA will not call you demanding money immediately or threatening arrest.
- If you are contacted and told you owe money or get a refund, always confirm with the CRA directly. Look up the official contact information online and don’t use the contact information or links provided to you by potential scammers.
- Do not feel pressure to respond to a request until you have a chance to verify the story.
- Never transfer money, or give out credit card or other financial information, until you can verify the person’s identity and the story, and determine whether it is legitimate.
- Don’t believe what you see. Business logos, websites and email addresses can easily be duplicated to look legitimate.
- Watch for poor grammar and spelling.
- Hover your mouse over links and emails to check their true destination. If the URL doesn’t match the link, or seems suspicious, don’t click on it.
- Be wary of unexpected emails that contain links or attachments from unknown senders, even if the sending email address appears legitimate.
- Update your computer’s anti-virus software.
- Ignore calls for immediate action or messages that create a sense of urgency.
- Never provide personal information such as SIN, bank account information or credit card numbers.
If you believe you’ve lost money or been threatened, please contact the CPS at 403-266-1234, or 9-1-1 in an emergency.
If you received a phone call or email that you believe to be a scam but have not lost money, you can report it online at www.calgarypolice. ca
For more information on how to protect yourself from scams visit the CRA website.