An old phone scam is gaining new ground in the Peace, duping more and more residents into paying fictitious debt to what they believe is the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
Fort St. John RCMP issued a press release Wednesday cautioning Peace residents against giving their identity and credit card information to callers claiming to be from the agency.
“This scam is becoming a growing concern for the RCMP in British Columbia as we are receiving numerous complaints daily and the numbers keep growing,” RCMP say.
The scam involves callers who claim to be from CRA but is not, sometimes using threatening or aggressive language to scare people into providing their credit card information over the phone.
The caller says that taxes are owed, and requests immediate payment by credit card, or convinces victims to purchase a prepaid credit card and to call back immediately with the information.
“The caller is often threatened with court charges, jail or deportation,” RCMP say.
If hung up on, the caller will continually call back. The calls are sometimes routed through systems that display any phone number the scammer chooses, which in recent cases has been the number for the local RCMP detachment.
To confirm that a CRA representative has contacted you, RCMP advises to call the agency at 1-800-959-8281 for individual concerns, or 1-800-959-5525 for business-related calls.
If the caller says he or she is a police officer, RCMP advise that you obtain their name or badge number, and tell the caller you will phone them back through the non-emergency number of the police agency where you live.
If you suspect you’ve been contacted by a scammer, call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre toll free at 1-888-495-8501, or online at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.