Tax phone scam prompts Calgary police warning
Culprits posing as Canada Revenue Agency or citizenship officials preying on new immigrants
Calgary police are warning people about a tax scam making the rounds in the city.
The culprits pose as employees of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) or Citizenship and Immigration Canada , threatening jail or deportation if fictitious fees or over-due taxes are not paid.
"The victim is then directed to pay the purported fees through e-transfer, money wire transfer or the purchase of pre-paid gift cards, which they are directed to mail to a specific address," police said in a release.
CRA officials say they are aware of the scam.
"The CRA does not keep statistics regarding how many people have been victims of this particular scam or any scam. We advise people to be aware the phone calls that claim to be from CRA are not," said agency spokesman Randy Westerman.
Calgary police staff Sgt. Kristie Verheul says new Canadians are often targeted.
"They prey on your knowledge or lack of knowledge of what is normal in Canada," she said.
Police say $10,000 has been taken from Calgary victims since March.
This month alone, six people have fallen for the scam.
Anyone who receives a suspicious call should contact the CRA's trust and enquiries line at 1-800-959-8281.
Victims of the scam are asked to report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online or by phone at 1-888-495-8501.
Police are also warning Calgarians to look out for online rental scammers who have been collecting cash deposits for site-unseen properties and then disappearing with the victims' money.
"In many cases, victims are using popular online sites to locate properties which leads to communication with the 'property owner.' They are then asked to provide a deposit via money order, prior to seeing the rental property," police said in a release.
Police say renters should:
- Only deal with landlords who are local.
- Be suspicious if asked to use a wire transfer service.
- Be aware of the average rental rates in an area and be suspicious if the rate is significantly lower.
- Not give out personal information such as social insurance, bank account, or credit card numbers.