FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Vancouver, BC – Canada Day is almost here and it is a good a time to remind Canadians that the Canada Revenue Agency Tax Scam continues unabated and to be on guard. This scam was BBB’s number one scam of 2015 and BBB’s Scam Tracker web page indicates more than 20% of the scams reported to BBB serving Mainland BC deal with this one issue.
Our concern today, is that this scam is more prevalent than we know and targeting seniors at an alarming rate.
“I recently took part in a public event put on by the Richmond Chapter of seniors advocacy group CARP,” says Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor for BBB serving Mainland BC. “It was a busy Saturday event and I spoke directly with over 100 local seniors. Not just a few, but each and every one told me they have received and are currently receiving harassing phone calls from scammers claiming to be from the CRA. While this is not an official poll, the number surprised even me. This scam isn’t going away and in fact appears to be growing in intensity.”
Fortunately, no one we spoke to at the CARP event fell for the scam, but BBB does hear horror stories of people losing thousands to these crooks. Canadians lost nearly 3 million to this scam in 2015, and that’s a low estimate as many victims choose not to report it. This scam will show up in phishing emails as well; well-crafted to look and feel like emails from the Canadian government. The first thing these emails ask is to input your Social Insurance Number. This, of course, is a big red flag.
“BBB would also like to remind Canada’s newest citizens this Canada Day about a scam that showed up this time last year,” adds Kelly. “Once again it’s a phone scam that threatens immigrants with deportation unless they send money to Citizenship and Immigration Canada in order to re-register. These agencies simply don’t operate in this fashion.”
This scam is also growing at an alarming rate. In 2014 the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre reported just half a dozen instances. In 2015, that number jumped to over 400, with loses over 100 thousand dollars.
• The CRA does not solicit by phone for payment or any other personal information.
• If you receive a call like this, say you will contact CRA yourself and hang up.
• Do not return the call with number that shows up on call display; it’s likely spoofed.
• The CRA does not accept payment through prepaid credit or gift cards.
• The CRA will not send emails containing any links.
• The CRA will not request personal information of any kind from a taxpayer by email or text message.
• The CRA will not divulge taxpayer information to another person unless formal authorization is provided by the taxpayer.
• The CRA will not send emails in English or French only: all communications are in both official languages.
• The CRA will not leave any personal information on an answering machine.
• If the CRA needs to contact you, it will be through regular mail first.
• If you don’t recognize a phone number on call display, don’t answer it.
If you have any concerns that you have been scammed there are several avenues to report it:
• Report it to your local authorities (Municipal Police/RCMP)
• Contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre Toll-free: 1-888-495-8501
• Contact the Competition Bureau of Canada Toll-free: 1-800-348-5358
• Contact www.bbb.org/mbc 1-604-682-2711
Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor
BBB Serving Mainland BC
404-788 Beatty Street
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses and brands they can trust. In 2015, people turned to BBB more than 165 million times for BBB Business Reviews, all available for free at bbb.org. BBB Serving Mainland B.C., founded in 1939 and serving the Lower Mainland, Thompson-Okanagan, Northern, Central and Southern Interior BC, and the Yukon, is one of 111 local, independent BBBs across North America. In 2015, consumers turned to BBB Serving Mainland B.C. more than 2 million times for Business Reviews and processed 7,500 complaints.