RCMP warn of tax scam

RCMP warn of tax scam

By Megan Voss, Sherwood Park News

With tax season also comes many scams.

March is National Fraud Prevention Month, and Strathcona County RCMP are warning residents about the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Scam, which has historically proved to be the most prevalent.

“This scam involves receiving phone calls or e-mails from individuals impersonating CRA employees,” said Const. Chantelle Kelly, media liaison with Strathcona County RCMP.

“Fraudsters are either phishing for your identification or asking that outstanding taxes be paid by a money service business, or by pre-paid debit/credit cards.”

According to Kelly, there are two variations of the scam.

“There is notification by phone or e-mail from the ‘CRA’ claiming there is a refund pending. In order for the recipient to receive the refund, they must provide personal information,” she said.

The other happens when consumers and businesses receive a phone call or e-mail, notifying them they owe back taxes as the result of an audit.

“The payment must be made immediately to avoid a fine, or the recipient is told there is an outstanding warrant that can be avoided if the payment is made promptly,” Kelly said.

“In many cases, individuals are threatened with court charges, jail or deportation.”

The CRA will not request payments by prepaid credit cards, nor will they leave personal information on an answering machine or voicemail, she explained.

“Never provide personal information through the Internet or by e-mail. The CRA does not ask you to provide personal information by e-mail,” Kelly continued.

“Ask yourself why the CRA would be asking for personal information over the phone or e-mail that they likely already have on file for you, as a taxpayer.

“Contact the CRA to confirm that you owe back taxes, or are entitled to a refund, before providing any personal or banking information.”

The RCMP is advising those who have not lost money but suspect they have been targeted to contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or online at antifraudcentre.ca.

However, if someone believes they have been the victim of fraud, or has given personal or financial information, they should contact the local RCMP detachment at 780-467-7741.