Residents warned of CRA telephone scams

Check your sources before acceding to phone calls claiming to be CRA demanding money.

Police suggest if someone claiming to be from Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) calls demanding money to clear up a past debt, you may want to check with them before acceding to their demands.

Ponoka RCMP have received numerous complaints recently from residents who fell victim to a telephone scam where fraudsters demand money for overdue back taxes or other debts associated with CRA.

In a press release, police state that culprits claim victims owe a substantial amount of money.

“The caller claims that payments must be made immediately via e-transfer, MoneyGram or Western Union by using threats of arrest, court or jail,” explain RCMP.

In some cases victims have been kept on the phone for hours making threats of arrest, or other serious action, until the amount is paid.

Police suggest one course of action if this is to occur is to immediately hang up and report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca or call toll-free at 1-888-495-8501.

Investigators offer several tips to avoid being a victim of this type of fraud:

Treat identity information as valuable;

Never give personal information to people you don’t know;

If someone claims to be from the CRA, ask yourself why they are calling;

Do not be afraid to call the CRA directly who usually communicate via mail and never demand immediate payment;

Police and the RCMP do not call demanding immediate payment for fines over the phone;

When in doubt, hang up and call the police.