Scammers have taken telephone fraud to ‘next level,’ warn RCMP

223

NWT RCMP are urging residents to remain vigilant in light of an ongoing Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) telephone scam that’s been taken to the “next level.”

In July, according to a news release by RCMP on Monday, a victim was called by a fraudster pretending to be a representative from the CRA. The scammer accused the victim of owing overdue taxes, and demanded they purchase iTunes and Steam gift cards and that they disclose the serial numbers. The victim was threatened with jail if they didn’t comply.

A loss of over $3,000 was reported to Behchoko RCMP.

Last month, police say a similar incident occurred. Yellowknife RCMP recieved a complaint from a person who had been contacted by the someone claiming to be from the CRA. The victim purchased $1,500 worth of Steam gift cards after being told they owed the agency money.

Steam is a popular online video game platform.

CRA scams in the territory aren’t new, but the string of recent reports mark the first time gift cards were requested and used to transfer money. That’s troubling to the RCMP.

“We are concerned that the fraudsters are changing their game so that they can prey on people who may not understand exactly what they are doing. People of the Northwest Territories need to be vigilant about financial transactions over the phone,” stated RCMP spokesperson Marie York-Condon in Monday’s news release.

“Tell your friends, neighbours, relatives, elders and children to make sure they are talking to the proper authorities on calls demanding money.”

Mounties are offering the following tips to avoid falling victim to fraud :

The CRA will NEVER:

  • Use aggressive or threatening language
  • Threaten arrest or to send police to your place of residence or employment

CRA does not accept payment by:

  • Prepaid credit cards or gift cards (such as iTunes, Google Play, etc.)
  • E-Transfer/Digital currency (such as Bitcoin, Steam cards, etc.)
  • Wire Transfer (such as Western Union, Money Gram, etc.)

The CRA accepted payment methods are:

  • Online banking
  • Debit card
  • Pre-authorized debit
  • Credit card or Pay Pal through a third-party service provider

RCMP also stress that fake calls may look real because scammers have the technology to create phony caller IDs that could display CRA numbers.

“If you are not sure the call you received is from the CRA, avoid taking any action as a result of pressure or threats from suspicious callers. Confirm the status of your tax accounts and verify whether the communication is really from the CRA by calling 1-800-959-8281 or by checking My Account at www.canada.ca/my-cra-account. You will never be penalized for double-checking that you’re talking to the real CRA,” state RCMP.

Police urge residents to contact their local RCMP detachment if they or a family member has been victimized by telephone fraud.

For more information on frauds and scams, you can visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online at http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/reportincident-signalerincident/index-eng.htm

Previous articleIce spoils cruise ship season in some communities
Next articleTeen captures three titles at international beauty pageant
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.