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Tax time brings out increase in fraud, scams

Tax time means an increase of fraud related to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

The OPP remind the public the CRA communicates with customers by mail and does NOT collect money by way of email, text messages, phone calls or by using money service businesses or pre-paid debit/credit cards.

“The CRA does not call and threaten to put people in jail,” said PEC OPP Cst. Patrick Menard. “Fraudsters tend to be aggressive in their behaviour on the phone, and they often create a sense of urgency which may cause the victim to not verify the story. Fraudsters use fear to intimidate victims into paying fake bills.”

The OPP are also reminding the public to not provide any personal information.

“To avoid becoming a victim, police advise you to hang up, check and verify the information with CRA by calling a trusted phone number in which you have found, and not the number provided by the caller.”

Last year, the extortion and phishing scam claimed 1,544 victims in Ontario who lost approximately $3 million. Police admit just five per cent of the crimes are actually reported.

As part of the annual Fraud Prevention Month campaign, police advise residents to confirm who they are dealing with before sending any money, anywhere, for any reason.

If you, or someone you know, suspect fraud, contact your local police service, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at www.antifraudcentre.ca, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or online at https://www.tipsubmit.com/start.htm

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