Local resident Deb Stockdale was contacted by a would-be scammer last week.
“They said that I owed $5,800 and that I had 13 counts of criminal fraud against my income tax files between 2012 to 2017,” Stockton told the Albertan.
“They said they were going to garnishee my wages and that a police officer would show up at my place of employment within seven days to arrest me and I would be put in jail until I paid the amount that was owing.”
Stockton said the caller was “very insistent,” and asked her for her social insurance number (SIN).
Stockton was suspicious. She refused to provide that number and asked for details on her alleged “frauds.”
The caller refused to do so, saying the matter was “a criminal case.”
He hung up on her. Stockton immediately phoned the CRA at 1-800-959-8281, and they confirmed the call she received was fraudulent. She blocked the caller’s number and gave it to the CRA.
Stockton said the caller was so aggressive and the matter so distressing that she literally began crying.
She revealed this incident in order to protect other Olds and area residents.
“I just don’t want the little old ladies to be scammed, who are sitting at home,” she said. “If they can scare the crap out of me and I’m a logical businesswoman (imagine what they could do to others).”
Olds RCMP commanding officer Staff Sgt. Jim MacDonald says since February last year, the detachment has received seven complaints from people who say they received calls from people trying to obtain money from them via the CRA scam.
He noted perpetrators often demand that people pay off their “debt” by purchasing iTunes cards.
“One victim lost $5,000 through this particular scam,” MacDonald said.
“Complaints of this nature are very difficult to investigate, as the scammer’s number is often blocked, is an out-of-country number or is taken out of service shortly after the calls are made,” he added.
“Unfortunately, there are few avenues of investigation and the victims will be referred to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. Rarely are suspects identified or funds recovered for the victims.”
MacDonald relayed some advice for people who may receive apparent CRA scam calls.
“If the CRA contacts you, they will never ask for personal information by email or text message or request payment by a prepaid credit card, wire transfer or iTunes cards,” he wrote.
“They will never threaten arrest or to send police. They will also not leave personal information on your voicemail or use unprofessional language.
“If you believe you have been a victim of a fraud or believe you have provided your personal information by mistake, please contact police.
“If you receive a call that sounds like a scam, do not give out any personal or financial information. Hang up and contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or go online at www.antifraudcentre.ca,” he added.
“One victim lost $5,000 through this particular scam.”
OLDS RCMP STAFF SGT. JIM MACDONALD