Prince George, BC: This is currently the most common fraud reported to the Prince George RCMP. Fraudsters impersonating employees of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will call (or e-mail) the victim providing one of a few different stories.
In the first scenario, the criminal advises the person that they owe “back taxes” as a result of an audit. Another story is that the person has been investigated for fraud and they must “pay back” what they owe in order to avoid a “5 year” jail term. The third theme being reported is one where the criminal states that the person owes taxes for their inheritance.
In most local cases the fraudster states that the payment must be made immediately or an Arrest Warrant will be issued (or already has been issued) and the RCMP will arrest them (THIS IS NOT THE CASE, as outlined further below). The instructions are to wire the money using a money wiring company. Wiring money is untraceable and irreversible. In some cases the persons are told to deposit the money in a specific bank account. If you do not pay right away, the fraudsters keep calling and are very aggressive.
In legitimate cases where people owe money, there are processes in place to allow payment or dispute long before any warrants are issued and the police are involved. If you are hearing about this alleged debt for the first time, the police will not be coming for you. If you get these calls or e-mails, call the Canada Revenue Agency before you do anything else.
The Prince George RCMP have also received reports of a similar fraud where the criminal poses as an immigration officer and threatens deportation if money isn’t sent. Again, contact the Canada Border Services Agency and do not send money.
In order to avoid tax scams, remember the following general words of advice:
- Do not take immediate action. The government has processes in place to acquire owed money, none of which are immediate;
- Know who you are dealing with. Obtain their contact information and search it on the internet.Often the contact info will be associated to frauds and not the CRA. This is a clear warning that this is not legitimate;
- Hang-up and call the Canada Revenue Service’s (or other government agency) toll free phone number in the Blue Pages of the phone book or from their website, www.cra-arc.gc.ca.
- Never give your personal information to anyone that calls you over the phone.This is especially the case when an organization such as the Canada Revenue Agency calls and should have all your necessary information already;
- Never agree to wire back funds to the government.
For more information about Fraud Scams involving the CRA visit the Canada Revenue Agency Web page at http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/scrty/frdprvntn/menu-eng.html.
For more information on common frauds in Canada, go to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website or click http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/fraud-escroquerie/index-eng.htm.
If you have any information about fraud offences in Prince George, please contact the Prince George RCMP at (250)561-3300.
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