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Be wary of scams: police

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The Rainy River District detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) want you to confirm who you're dealing with before sending any money anywhere for any reason.

The ever-popular Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and other agency-related extortion threats have continued to sustain significant financial losses by unsuspecting victims.

In the typical CRA scam, the criminals extort money from their victims by telephone, mail, text message or email, a fraudulent communication that claims to be from the Canada Revenue Agency requesting personal information such as a social insurance number, credit card number, bank account number, or passport number.

A new twist is that fraudsters will leave a pre-recorded, clear message on your voicemail impersonating the real CRA.

Fraudsters are either phishing for your identification or asking that outstanding taxes be paid by a money service business or by pre-paid debit/credit cards.

They may insist that this personal information is needed so that the taxpayer can receive a refund or a benefit payment.

Cases of fraudulent communication could also involve threatening or coercive language to scare individuals into paying fictitious debt to the CRA.

Other communications such as texting, urge taxpayers to visit a fake CRA website where the taxpayer is then asked to verify their identity by entering personal information.

Before you respond to any type of communication, think first that this is a scam. Individuals should never respond to these fraudulent communications nor click on any of the links provided.

Here are some warning signs:

  • Urgency: The scammer always makes the request sound very urgent, which may cause the victim to not verify the story.

For example, they may say “the police are on their way to arrest you.”

  • Request for money transfer: Money is usually requested to be sent by a money transfer company such as Money Gram, Western Union or even through your own bank institution.
  • The request of payment using gift cards: The caller will tell the victim to purchase various types of gift cards (iTunes, Google Play, Steam, Walmart) and then text them pictures of the card numbers

The CRA will never request by email, text or phone, any personal information such as passport, credit card or bank account information.

If you or someone you know suspect they've been a victim of the CRA scam, contact police.

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