AURORA, Ont. — In a new take on an old ruse, scammers pretending to work for the tax department or police department may be coming to your home.
That’s what happened this week to a woman north of Toronto. She received a telephone call from a person whose caller ID appeared to show the man worked for York Regional Police. He did not.
“Somebody’s calling and essentially saying that you owe all this money and if you don’t pay it immediately there will be terrible consequences,” said York Regional Police Const. Laura Nicolle.
But after the woman hung up, police say the scammers took the next — and new — step.
“A vehicle pulled up into her driveway and two suspects got out of the vehicle and actually began knocking on her door,” said Nicolle.
The woman hid inside and did not answer the door. She later called police.
Police said they are convinced the persons at the door are connected with the tax phone calls.
For several years, scammers have been emailing and telephoning Canadians threatening arrest and jail if they don’t pay up.
Law enforcement agencies say many of the targets are senior citizens and immigrants new to Canada, possibly unaware of tax collection practices here.
“We don’t make phone calls threatening arrest or jail, that’s not how we do business,” said Paul Murphy, spokesman for the Canada Revenue Agency in Toronto.
Murphy says the CRA typically sends out collection letters to individuals or businesses who owe on their taxes. If collection calls are made, the calls sound nothing like those made by scammers.
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“The agent will identify himself, ask security questions and ask for payment,” or negotiate a payment schedule, Murphy said, adding the CRA would never ask taxpayers to use pre-paid credit cards or meet in public places to deliver the money, which are some of the requests frequently made by scammers.
In the U.S., thieves have successfully been paid an estimated $26 million, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
“They’re ruthless criminals,” said Tim Camus, Deputy Inspector General of Investigations with the U.S. Treasury Department in Washington.
“They don’t care about anything except intimidating you to give them money.”
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