Phone scam targeting Victoria residents

Victoria police are asking the public to be vigilant following a spike in “Canada Revenue Agency” phone scams during the last few days.

  • Aug. 21, 2015 6:00 p.m.

Victoria police are asking the public to be vigilant following a spike in “Canada Revenue Agency” phone scams during the last few days that’s left some residents in tears at police headquarters.

Victims of the scam typically receive a phone call from an angry caller, claiming to represent the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and taxes are owed.

The caller requests immediate payment by credit card or convinces the victims to purchase a prepaid credit card, and call back immediately with the information. If they don’t, the victims are often threatened with court charges, jail, or deportation.

Lately, police in Victoria have been flooded with calls from citizens that have been traumatized by the scam, and in some cases, attempted to turn themselves in for what they believed to be non-payment of their taxes.

One woman who attended police headquarters to face arrest was visibly upset, crying and shaking. Police said it took several minutes for an officer to calm her down and learn what happened.

I am so furious. The fraudsters claiming to be with the CRA have left many of our residents scared and confused,” said Victoria Police Chief Frank Elsner on Twitter.

The CRA will not call you threatening arrest. If you or someone you know gets such a call, hang up and please call your Victoria police.”

In mid August, the CRA issued a public warning about the scam after seeing an increase in reports.

When the CRA calls, it has established procedures in place to make sure personal information is protected. The CRA said it never requests prepaid credit cards or asks for information about a passport, health card or driver’s licence. It also doesn’t share taxpayer information with another person, unless they have provided the appropriate authorization, and never leaves personal information on an answering machine or asks for personal information to be left on theirs.

Since the scam surfaced last summer, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre said it’s received more than 10,000 calls from across Canada. In one case, a woman paid $13,000 for pre paid credit cards.

For more information on scams or to report deceptive telemarketing contact the centre online at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca or toll free at 1-888-495-8501. Those who believe they may be a victim of fraud or have given personal or financial information unwittingly should contact their local police service immediately.

— Pamela Roth

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Power lines cut as thieves strike Vancouver Island veterinary hospital

‘Thankfully there weren’t any animals or staff in the clinic when this happened’

Warm ‘blob’ could be behind mass starvation of North Pacific seabirds: Study

Unprecedented death toll raises red flag for North American marine ecosystems

Saanich Police ask for help locating missing high-risk youth

Robyn Coker-Steel has not been in contact with anyone from her home since Dec. 27

VIDEO: Soldiers trade rifles for snow shovels to help dig out St. John’s

A state of emergency is set to extend into a fifth day

ICBC to bring in ranking system for collision, glass repair shops

Change comes after the much-maligned auto insurer has faced criticism for sky-high premiums

Surrey’s ‘Pink Palace’ being used for Stephen King horror shoot

New web series based on King’s The Stand novel

‘It was just so fast’: B.C. teen recalls 150-metre fall down Oregon mountain

Surrey’s Gurbaz Singh broke his leg on Mount Hood on Dec. 30

Vancouver Island Pride weekend returns to Mount Washington Alpine Resort

Building on the success of last year’s family-friendly pride festival on Vancouver… Continue reading

Scarlett Point lighthouse keeper wins a million bucks playing the lottery

“I usually just get a quick pick, so I didn’t expect to win a big prize”

B.C. woman crowned the fastest female marathon runner in Canadian history

Malindi Elmore ran an incredible 2:24:50 at the Houston Marathon

Alberta bulldog breeder ordered to refund B.C. buyer over puppy’s behaviour

Tribunal ruled a verbal agreement to send a new dog superseded the written contract

Man dies in backcountry near Nelson’s Whitewater Ski Resort

The victim was found unresponsive in a tree well Friday

Most Read