December 1, 2017 8:14 pm
Updated: December 1, 2017 8:22 pm

Phone scam by phony tax collectors on the rise in the Okanagan

Beware phone calls from scammers claiming to be with the Canada Revenue Agency.

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The Vernon RCMP is warning people of the re-surfacing of a telephone fraud that has resulted in a notable increase of victims.

The scam has a caller claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency threatening people with aggressive language to scare them into paying fictitious debts for taxes owed.

Police say the scammers usually demand immediate payment or the consequences could be charges, jail or deportation.

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“Recently, the victims have been presented with personal information about family, friends and workplaces therefore making the caller more believable. Personal information is being gained by the suspect through numerous facets, such as social media and web based accounts,” states a RCMP news release.

Here’s some advice to avoid becoming a victim:

-The CRA advises Canadians to confirm the status of their tax accounts before taking any action that may be the result of pressure from suspicious calls or emails, and to verify the legitimacy of the communication by contacting the CRA directly at 1-800-959-8281;
-The CRA will never request prepaid credit cards or bitcoins, and it will not send emails containing details of a tax refund or Interac e-transfer payments;
-The CRA will never ask for information about your passport, health services card or driver’s licence;
-The CRA will never leave personal information on your voicemail service;
-If you’ve shared personal information, contact Equifax and Trans Union to place fraud alerts on your account;
-If you’ve shared banking information with a scammer, contact your financial institution to place alerts on your accounts.

Police say it’s best to immediately hang up the phone and to call them only if you’ve handed over any money.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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