Coronation RCMP are advising residents of a reoccurring phone scam that has come to their attention targeting local residents.
In this scam, suspects contact potential victims by phone, leaving a message to call them back at a non-government number, claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency. Or, if the caller answers, they are advising the victim owes tax money that must be paid as soon as possible. The suspects use high-pressure tactics and in some cases threaten the victim with arrest if the amount owing is not paid.
RCMP advise that no legitimate government agency or business will demand payment in gift cards or prepaid credit cards. These methods are used by the criminal element to hide their activities from police. The RCMP will not make arrests for overdue CRA fines.
If you receive a call from someone claiming you owe money, get as much information from them as possible and tell them you will call them back. Find the government agencies’ phone number through a trusted source (phonebook, or official website) and call the department back after doing some due diligence. Don’t trust the phone number or email from the caller until you have verified that they are who they say they are. The CRA will not request payments by prepaid credit cards, or iTunes gift cards. Do not give any caller these payments or gift card numbers. NEVER share any personal information with the caller, such as confirming your legal name, date of birth, social insurance number, address, etc. Do not provide any personal information, and ensure the call has been ended before discussing anything personal. Be careful before you click on any links in any email you receive. Some criminals may be using a technique known as phishing to steal your personal information when you click on the link. Shred unwanted documents, or store them in a locked and secure place.
Coronation RCMP also wish to bring the public’s attention to a similar scam where suspects are reaching out to potential victims through social media platforms or by text message. The suspect will randomly target a victim through a direct message on a social media platform like Facebook or send random text messages to a phone number hoping for the recipient to respond. The suspect will then advise of a government grant available to the victim and that the grant is for thousands of dollars. The suspect will then attempt to have the victim respond to a phone number by call or text to receive further information about the fraudulent grant. Suspects will eventually request iTunes gift cards of certain values before releasing the grant funds. The victim will never receive grant funding as promised regardless of the amount of money they send. Coronation RCMP encourage the public to exercise extreme caution when contacted by strangers over the phone, by text message or online.
For more information on scams contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca or toll-free at 1(888)495-8501. If you believe you may be the victim of fraud or have given personal or financial information unwittingly, contact the Coronation RCMP at (403) 578-3666 or call your local police. If you want to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers by phone at 1(800)222-8477 (TIPS), by internet at www.tipsubmit.com, or by SMS (check your local Crime Stoppers www.crimestoppers.ab.ca for instructions).