Over the past few months, Edmonton police have received several reports of a scam involving people posing as Canada Revenue Agency officials to swindle people out of money.
Police said telephone scammers claiming to be from the CRA will call people and tell them they have not filed their taxes properly and they owe the government money. The scammers then instruct people to pay up with pre-purchased iTunes gift cards.
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“These individuals are persistent and will use virtually any scare tactic they believe will allow them to get into people’s wallets,” Det. Bill Allen with the EPS said. “Scammers will go as far as telling you that police will show up at your door and arrest you – which is absolutely untrue.”
READ MORE: Ontario woman defrauded of more than $12K in iTunes gift cards in CRA scam: police
Allen said retailers should be on the lookout for this scam, citing one instance in particular.
“We are currently investigating a file where a woman was convinced she owed the CRA $22,000. The woman visited two grocery stores and purchased $10,000 worth of iTunes gift cards at the first location and then purchased and additional $12,000 in iTunes gift cards at the second location. The woman then sent photos of the cards to the scammers.”
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The CRA said it will never request payment by gift cards and urges people to verify the call before handing over any money. Randy Westerman, communications manager with CRA’s Prairie Region, said the organization does not conduct business in the following ways:
Ask for personal information of any kind by email or text messageRequest payments by prepaid credit/gift cardsGive taxpayer information to another person, unless formal authorization is provided by the taxpayerSend an email with a link and ask you to divulge personal or financial informationLeave personal information on an answering machine
Anyone who may have fallen victim to the scam is asked to visit a local police detachment to file a complaint or contact the EPS at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone.
For more information on how to protect yourself against scammers, visit the CRA’s website.