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Tax scam warning

Winnipeg Police have been receiving reports of attempted phone-based tax scams. The fraudsters will contact the victim pretending to be the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) or, in some cases, a police officer. The swindlers will try to obtain your personal information and then they will tell you that you have outstanding taxes. They are often very aggressive; even going as far as saying that they have sent the police to the victim’s home to arrest them or a family member if they do not pay the “taxes” immediately.

Winnipeg Police are aware that in at least one case the fraudsters faked or “spoofed” the victim’s home land line phone number when they called his cell phone. This caused the victim to fear that government agents were actually in his home to collect taxes.

The fraudsters also seem to target new Canadians because they are often not as familiar with the Canadian tax or justice system. The fraudster will direct the victim to pay their outstanding taxes by going to a store and purchasing a prepaid credit or gift card or by going to a money transfer business. Once the fraudster has the details from the prepaid card or once the money transfer has been sent – often out of Canada – the money is lost and cannot be recovered.

Tips to remember

• The Canada Revenue Agency already has your identity information, so they will not call you on the phone to ask for it.

• The CRA will never ask you to purchase gift cards or to go to a money transfer business.

• If you do receive a suspicious phone call, contact the CRA yourself to confirm the details. Find the CRA phone number for yourself online or in a phone directory. Do not use any contact information provided by the suspicious caller.

• Protect yourself: never agree to requests for payment without researching the validity of the caller.

To learn more about tax scams or other types of fraud, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre: http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca