Strathcona County, Alta. - March is Fraud Prevention month and although there is numerous scams and frauds circulating, the Strathcona County RCMP warns that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Scam is still the most prevalent.
This scam involves receiving phone calls or emails from individuals impersonating CRA employees. Fraudsters are either phishing for your identification or asking that outstanding taxes be paid by itunes cards or by pre-paid debit/credit cards. There are two variations:
-There is notification by phone or email from the "CRA" claiming there is a refund pending. In order for the recipient to receive the refund they must provide personal information.
-Consumers and businesses receive a notification by phone or email that 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. In many cases, individuals are threatened with court charges, jail or deportation.
Be aware of these guidelines to prevent being a victim of a CRA scam and other financial scams:
The CRA will not request payments by prepaid credit cards.
The CRA will not leave personal information on an answering machine.
Never provide personal information through the Internet or by email. The CRA does not ask you to provide personal information by email.
Ask yourself why the CRA would be asking for personal information over the phone or email 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.
If you have not lost money but suspect you have been targeted, contact the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 orwww.antifraudcentre.ca.
If you believe you may be the victim of fraud or have given personal or financial information unwittingly, contact the Strathcona County RCMP Detachment at 780-467-7741