The Cold Lake RCMP is warning the public of recent Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) scams that the detachment has dealt with recently. One scam in particular has the detachment worried because the fraudsters are very convincing and sophisticated.
The scammer will call a victim and advise the person that they owe back taxes and if they do not pay a portion of their debt, immediately, the police will show up and arrest them. The fraudster will then instruct the victim to purchase iTunes cards and call the scammer back with the iTunes numbers. Once the scammer has the numbers they are able to cash them in or resell them. RCMP say these types of scams prey on vulnerable victims, often times the elderly, who are good people and want to do right. The scammers are even able to clone CRA phone numbers and when the victim calls them back the number appears to be a CRA number but it bounces to the scammer.
The Cold Lake Detachment had one victim recently who came in right after falling victim to the scam. The police were able to work with Apple and reverse the iTunes and get most of the victim’s money back. The victim brought in the phone number she was instructed to call and when the RCMP dialed it, it went to the CRA. So the scammers have somehow been able to divert calls made from victim’s phones to them.
If you or someone you know has fallen victim to this type of scam, time is of the essence. Contact the RCMP immediately or go into your nearest detachment.
Protect Yourself & Others
- Education is the key: the more the public knows about these scams the less success fraudsters will be with the scams
- Police are asking store owners or cashiers if you notice people buying iTunes cards in large amounts, $500 – $3000, ask questions to make sure the person purchasing the cards hasn’t fallen victim.
- RCMP Remind the public that they do not & cannot enforce CRA penalties or money owing. RCMP will not arrest you for back taxes owed to the CRA
- The CRA does not collect payment in iTunes, or other gift cards
- Always contact the RCMP if you have been targeted in a scam. You may not have fallen victim, but your information could be vital in stopping the criminals
You can report a fraud to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online or call 1-888-495-8501.