With Fraud Prevention Month in full swing, the Grande Prairie RCMP is offering up some tips to steer people clear of any sticky situations.
As early as January, the annual CRA scam began making the rounds in the Peace Country. In one instance, authorities said the suspect advised the victim to purchase Google Play cards in order to repay the Canada Revenue Agency.
Sergeant Shawn Graham says, in many instances, the calls are completely at random, and fraudsters are becoming more and more desperate.
“They’re usually high pressure in nature, and, in some cases, the victim is threatened with arrest if the amounts aren’t paid,” he explains.
“This scam isn’t new, it just tends to resurface every year during the tax season, but it’s something people need to be aware of if they’re not already.”
Graham adds there are several ways to protect yourself, and some vital tips to remember if you think you’re being swindled:
- No legitimate government agency or business will demand payment in gift cards or prepaid credit cards. These methods are used by criminals in order to hide their activities from police.
- If you receive a call from someone claiming you owe money, get as much information from them as possible and tell them you will call them back. Find the government agency’s phone number through a trusted source like a phone book or official website and call the department back.
- Don’t trust the phone number or email from the caller until you have verified that they are who they say they are.
- Do not share any personal information with the caller, such as confirming your name, social insurance number, address.
Anyone who thinks they may have been a victim of fraud can report it to the Government of Canada’s Anti Fraud Centre.