KELOWNA – The Kelowna RCMP has issued a public alert about two scams that have been making the rounds recently.
Police say they’ve noticed an increase in a telephone fraud where the caller claims to be from the Canada Revenue Agency and is threatening and forceful in demanding payment of a fictitious tax debt, usually demanding immediate credit card payment.
“The taxpayer is often threatened with court charges, jail or even deportation,” says Cst. Jesse O’Donaghey in a news release. “If you get such a call, hang up and report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre of the RCMP.” http://www.antifraudcentre.ca
To help identify possible scams, use the following guidelines:
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA):
· Never requests prepaid credit cards;
· Never asks for information about your passport, health services card or driver’s licence;
· Never leaves personal information on your answering machine or voice mail service;
When in doubt, ask yourself the following:
· Is there a reason the CRA may be calling? DO I have a tax balance outstanding?
· Is the requester asking for information I would not include on my tax returns?
· Is the requester asking for information the CRA already has on file?
There has also been an up-tick in empty envelope ATM scams which often leaves victims owing their financial institutions hundreds of dollars.
O’Donaghey say it sometimes involves a middle-aged man who approaches people on the street, often in Kelowna’s downtown area, asking for help in depositing a cheque.
O’Donaghey explains: “The suspect has a variety of excuses why he cannot use his own bank account and briefly shows the victim what appears to be a cheque. The suspect accompanies the victim to their bank and uses the ATM to deposit an empty envelope. The victim, believing a legitimate cheque was just deposited into his or her account, then allows the suspect to make a withdrawal for several hundred dollars. Once the bank discovers the deposit envelope is empty, the victim bank account is frozen and the victim is held accountable for the outstanding withdrawal.”
Police urge people to not give anyone their bank card or Personal Identification Number (PIN).