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Be wary of scams, says RCMP, especially at tax time

RCMP say one scam that makes the rounds in March is the commonly known Canada Revenue Agency scam, or CRA scam. Government of Canada

With tax season in full swing, police in the North Okanagan are warning not to fall prey to tax-scam artists.

RCMP say one scam that makes the rounds in March is the commonly known Canada Revenue Agency scam, or CRA scam.

According to police, a fraudster will trick a victim into either paying a sum of money, or disclosing personal or financial information of a sensitive nature, such as their social insurance number.

“In most cases, the scam starts when the victim receives a phone call from someone claiming to be from the CRA and is told there is an outstanding tax amount due,” say police.

RCMP say the scammer will request immediate payment by credit card, prepaid gift cards, e-transfer or some other quick form of monetary payment.

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The fraudster will also try to pressure the victim into paying by threatening arrest, jail, or financial sanctions if they do not comply.

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“Potentially, there could be an immediate monetary loss,” say police, “but disclosing personal or sensitive information to these scammers can also lead to identity theft or other forms of fraud.”

Click to play video: '87-year-old Saskatoon woman loses thousands to scammers'
87-year-old Saskatoon woman loses thousands to scammers

“The CRA scam is not new, but at this time of year with tax returns on our minds and to-do lists, it tends to pop up a lot more often,” said Vernon RCMP Const. Chris Terleski.

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“As is the case with any scam, education and awareness are key to prevention. The earlier you’re able to recognize you are being targeted, the quicker you can take action, and the better chance you have of being able to shut down the scam and not become a victim.”

More information about fraud prevention can be found by visiting the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website.

Click to play video: 'Woman scammed out of $5,000, warning others'
Woman scammed out of $5,000, warning others

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