Beware phone fraudsters posing as police, tax officials

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NWT RCMP has issued a warning after they say fraudsters posed as police and federal officials in an effort to scam a resident out of money.

A complaint was filed with NWT RCMP after the victim — it’s not specified whether the scammers actually made off with money from their target — received a call from a phony Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) employee, stated a police news release.

The resident was told they owed money to the CRA.

The fraudster said the victim would be arrested if they didn’t pay up immediately, claiming a warrant had already been issued for their arrest, say RCMP.

The victim then received a call from a “(1111)” number— a recognizable NWT RCMP number.

“After verification, the phone call did not originate from an RCMP detachment,” stated the news release.

This type of trickery isn’t new.

Similar scams, where recognizable government agency numbers are used, have been reported across the country. Sometimes, say RCMP, victims are the names and badge numbers of fake police officers.

The police do not collect money for the CRA.

The reported phone scam, which comes on the heels of a sophisticated email scheme in Yellowknife, has prompted NWT RCMP to remind residents of some helpful tips to avoid being victimized by fraud:

  • If you are unsure if the caller is a legitimate government agency, hang-up. Do not provide personal information, including social insurance numbers, identification numbers, passwords, or financial information over the phone.
  • If you are not sure if a message is from the CRA, confirm your tax status with the CRA online through a CRA secure portals such as My Account or by calling 1-800-959-8281.
  • Whether you paid the scammer or not, file a report with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) at 1-888-495-8501, or via the centre’s website: antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm.
  • Report the scam to your local police if you paid money, including purchasing pre-paid credit cards, gift cards or online currency such as Bitcoin.
  • If you’ve sent money or shared financial information with a fraudster, report it to your bank.

For more tips on how to protect yourself against fraud, visit the Anti-Fraud Centre at: antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.

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As the Yellowknifer’s crime reporter, it’s my job to keep readers up to speed on all-things “cops and courts” related. From house fires and homicides to courtroom clashes, it’s my responsibility to be there - day or night, rain or shine. When I’m not at court gathering stories, I’m in the office, making calls to lawyers, emailing RCMP and tracking down sources. After hours, I rely on the public to let me know what’s happening and where. Entering my second winter in Yellowknife since leaving my hometown of Peterborough, Ont., in October 2017, everyday on this beat continues to be challenging, rewarding and fulfilling. Got a story? Call me at (867) 766-8288 or shoot me an email at editorial@nnsl.com.

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