October 4, 2016 12:29 am

B.C. woman loses thousands to CRA iTunes gift card scam

WATCH: The latest CRA phone scam is costing Canadians millions of dollars, requesting payment through the purchase of iTunes gift cards. Consumer reporter Anne Drewa spoke with one B.C. woman who was recently duped.

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A B.C. woman has fallen victim to the CRA iTunes gift card scam. Surrey resident Leticia Dayrit says back in July, she  lost close to $4,000 after someone pretending to be from the Canada Revenue Agency requested payment through iTune gift cards.

“The guy kept telling me if I don’t pay, the CRA will be here any minute with police and they will put me in jail,” Dayrit said.

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Dayrit says she was very frightened. She said she was instructed to head to the nearest Shoppers Drug Mart to buy 67 iTunes gift cards totaling $3,980. Soon after, Dayrit said she caught on to the scam. The fraudster’s number on her cellphone was not based in Canada. Still, Dayrit was out thousands of dollars.

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Agency says the iTunes CRA scam surfaced this spring. Since then, close to 400 Canadians have been duped with loses well over $1.7 million.

READ MORE: New CRA scammers tell victims to buy lots of iTunes gift cards: police

The Better Business Bureau’s Evan Kelly said the CRA scam is by far the most reported scam out there.

“Previously fraudsters asked them to load up pre-paid Visa gift cards, go to your store, call them back and then give them the number to the prepaid gift cards and the money is gone. Now, we are noticing, and so is Apple, they are being asked to use iTunes gift cards in the very same way.”

The BBB says if you ever receive a call from the CRA stating you owe money, hang up the phone and contact the CRA yourself to verify.

“If you are asked to pay for any service or product with an iTunes gift card, don’t do it. It’s a scam,” says Kelly.

As for Dayrit, she says she waited more than two months for Shoppers Drug Mart to refund her money for the unused iTunes gift cards. Her family contacted Global BC’s Consumer Matters for help. After Consumer Matters made some calls, Shoppers Drug Mart apologized for the delay in processing the refund. A refund cheque was delivered to Dayrit’s home within two days.

For more information on how to protect yourself visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and the Better Business Bureau.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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