Kelowna woman warns others about Canada Revenue Agency scam
KELOWNA – After she lost almost $3,000, a Kelowna woman is telling her story hoping to prevent others from being victimized by scammers.
The incident started with messages left on Catherine Paulger’s answering machine.
“I thought it had been a false call at the time and I wanted to call back and say that you [have] the wrong number,” she explains.
Paulger says the person on the other end of the line said they were from the Canada Revenue Agency.
“They said that we had owed $2,849 in outstanding taxes from the years 2008 to 2011, that we were in violation of four of the federal laws and that they were going to send our file out. [They said] that we were going to be arrested and taken into custody.”
She thought her taxes were squared away but despite several red flags, the threat of arrest was enough to scare her into action. She took cash out of her bank account, and with the scammer on the line, she went and transferred almost $3,000.
Read More: Police warn fraudsters using CRA scam for information and payments
“He said, tell them it is just a family emergency, pretend like you are talking to your husband, this is the name to use, ” she says.
RCMP in Vernon and Kelowna are among the police departments that have issued warnings in recent weeks about fraudsters claiming to be from the CRA. Kelowna RCMP spokesman Cpl. Joe Duncan says Paulger’s situation sounds like a scam. If you get this type of call, he suggests you look up the agency’s number up online and to see if it matches the number provided.
Earlier this year the CRA issued a warning about an uptick in telephone scams where fraudsters posed as CRA employees. More information about the scams and how to identify them is available on the CRA’s website.
Paulger doesn’t think she’ll ever see that money again and now hopes others can learn from her experience.
“I just don’t want someone else out like this. It hurts a lot,” she says.