RCMP Issue Tax Fraud Warning
Prince George, B.C. – It is tax time in Canada and the RCMP are again warning the public about criminals who are attempting to perpetrate a fraud against residents of Prince George.
People impersonating employees of the Canada Revenue Agency will call (or e-mail) the victim providing one of a few different stories. One is that back taxes are owed following an audit. Another story is that the person has been investigated for fraud and must “pay back” what they owe in order to avoid a “5 year” jail term. The third bogus story is that a person owes taxes for their inheritance and yet another scenario has victims bringing money to the local office.
In most local cases the fraudster says payment must be made immediately or the RCMP will arrest them. That is not true. The instructions are usually to wire the money using a money wiring company or to purchase cash cards and forward the numbers.
If you do not pay right away, the crooks keep calling and are very aggressive. If you pay, they call more often and try to get you to send more money.
Police believe local criminals are starting to get involved. In one recent report the victim was told to purchase cash cards and bring them to the lobby of the local CRA office on Victoria Street. The victim was to provide the cards to a specific person and was provided a name. The RCMP says this is alarming as victims would be face to face with an unknown, unpredictable criminal. The local CRA office is closed to the public and do not accept owed money in the lobby.
Prince George RCMP says some local victims have been defrauded of thousands of dollars in some cases. They say 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.
In order to avoid tax scams, remember the following:
- 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 Agency’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;
- The Canada Revenue Agency will not send an e-mail with a link and ask for personal information. If you receive one, do not divulge personal or financial information;
- Never agree to wire back funds to the government or purchase cash cards.
If you have any information about fraud offences in Prince George, contact the Prince George RCMP at (250)561-3300.