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Area residents defrauded of almost $6,000

If you or someone you know suspect they've been targeted by this type of scam, please contact your local police service
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Officers from the Collingwood and the Blue Mountains detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police wish to remind the public of this very common scam that continues to victimize area residents. 

In the last month, officers responded to three calls for service involving the CRA scam where fraudsters managed to obtain almost $6,000 in total.

In one case the victim was asked to make several deposits into a Bitcoin machine to pay off taxes owed to the CRA, upon doing so the fraudsters called the victim again claiming that she owed more money and to make further deposits. The victim instead spoke to her banking institution and police were called. 

In another case, police were called to a local business where an employee became aware of a customer that had purchased several iTune cards and was possibly being scammed. Investigation found that the customer had already conveyed the card numbers to the fraudster after being told she owned money to the CRA. Police attempted to obtain the money back from the cards but to no avail, it was too late and the cards had been claimed. 

Three calls may not seem like much but, if you take into account that only approximately 5 per-cent of such calls are reported to authorities, the number of potential victims is much higher. 

The CRA scam begins when fraudsters posing as an employee of the CRA or a recognized financial institution will contact the victim via a phone call or email, phishing for your identification, personal information or will ask that outstanding taxes be paid by a money service business or by pre-paid gift cards or more commonly, by the purchase of iTune cards or cryptocurrency.  

The caller will usually advise the targeted victim, via threatening or coercive language, that failure to pay will result in additional fees or that a warrant will be issued for their arrest. Other communications urge taxpayers to visit a fictitious CRA website, via hyperlink within an email, where the taxpayer is then asked to verify their identity by entering personal information. 

Here are some warning signs that you may be dealing with a scam: 

  • Urgency - The scammer always makes the request sound very urgent, which may cause the victim to not verify the story
  • Fear - The scammer plays on the victim's emotions by generating a sense of fear
  • Request for Money Transfer - Money is usually requested to be sent by a money transfer company such as Money Gram, Western Union or even through your own financial institution or cryptocurrency

To avoid becoming a victim, police advise you to first check with another family members or trusted friends to verify the information before sending money or providing credit card information by phone or e-mail.

If you or someone you know suspect they've been targeted by this type of scam, please contact your local police service. You can also file a complaint through the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and visit their website containing a wealth of information on current frauds and fraud prevention tips. 

'Recognize, reject and report fraud'