Manitoba

Spike in over-the-phone fraud reports has Winnipeg police on alert

Winnipeg police are asking the public to be careful taking calls after a recent increase in the number of over-the-phone scams.

Callers claiming to be with Taxation Canada ask unsuspecting victims to pay in gift cards, say police

Winnipeg police are asking the public to be careful taking calls after a recent increase in the number of over-the-phone scams.

Police said the suspect calls a victim claiming they are with Taxation Canada. The scammer then tells the unsuspecting victim they are not up to date on their taxes and they owe money to the federal government.
Winnipeg police are asking the public to be on alert after a string of over-the-phone fraudsters claiming to be with Taxation Canada have been reported trying to scam unsuspecting victims.

The scam then takes a turn that should raise a red flag to callers: the suspect asks the caller to make the payment in back-taxes in the form of gift cards.

The Commercial Crime Unit is investigating and has asked members of the public to alert elderly family members or anyone else that could fall victim to such a scam.

Fraud was up 13 per cent (1,122 instances) in 2014 compared to 2013 (993 instances) and five per cent higher than the five-year average.

This isn't the first instance of an over-the-phone scam in Manitoba this month. Earlier in February police put out a public notice after a string of phone calls from callers claiming to be Manitoba Hydro employees asking victims to pay overdue bills.

Want to know more about how to report and protect yourself against fraud? Visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre for more details.

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