Edmonton

Don't get duped by CRA scams, warns Strathcona County RCMP

RCMP are reminding the public to be wary of financial scams, after several people recently handed over thousands of dollars and personal information by phone and email to scammers claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency.

RCMP say the Canada Revenue Agency will never request payment by prepaid credit cards, iTunes gift cards

One woman handed over $5,600 worth of prepaid credit cards over the phone to a scammer in June, police say. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

RCMP are reminding the public to be wary of financial scams, after several people recently handed over thousands of dollars and personal information by phone and email to scammers claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency.

​Strathcona County RCMP say at around 12:20 p.m. on June 22, a woman received a phone call from a man who said he was a police officer working for the CRA.

The scammer told the woman she owed money, and must pay in prepaid Visa cards. The woman bought $5,600 worth of prepaid credit cards and gave the man the card numbers over the phone.

On July 6 at around 7:30 a.m., another woman received a phone call from a man who said he was a CRA employee.

He said she owed money, and that she would go to jail immediately if she didn't pay in iTunes gift cards. She ended up handing over $3,000 in iTunes gift cards over the phone.

On Aug. 11, a man received an email that appeared to show a refund available from the CRA. He clicked the link and offered his banking information and social insurance number. He soon realized it was a scam and contacted his bank. He did not lose any money.

The CRA will never request payment by prepaid credit cards or iTunes gift cards, RCMP said in a news release.

The CRA will also never leave personal information on an answering machine, nor will it ever ask for personal information by email.

Police say the public should be cautious about clicking links in any email they receive, as some links may use phishing to steal personal information.

The public should protect their social insurance number and never use it as a piece of ID or offer it up freely.

Less than five per cent of mass marketing fraud is ever reported, according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

Anyone who believes they may have been a victim of fraud is asked to contact RCMP. 

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