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Kelowna on alert for scammers

Scams are a dime-a-dozen these days as countless unscrupulous scammers try to relieve you of your cash. A local woman unfortunately found out the hard way just how much high pressure tactics and intimidation can hurt the pocket book.

The Kelowna RCMP received a report of a fraud that used both the names of the Canada Revenue Agency and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to pressure the victim into paying, at around 1 p.m. March 24.

"Earlier that day, a 30-year-old Kelowna woman received a call from someone claiming to be an agent from the Canada Revenue Agency. The fraudster indicated that the woman and her husband had outstanding fees with the CRA and that if they didn't pay off the balance immediately, a warrant would be issued for their arrest for tax evasion," said Const. Kris Clark.

"The scammer then provided instructions on how to obtain prepaid credit cards in order to expedite the process and prevent the victim's arrest."

The fraudster allegedly kept the victim on the phone during the entire scam until she became suspicious and hung up. But within minutes, the victim received a call that showed 911 on the call display. A man claiming to be a constable with the RCMP reassured the victim that the call was legitimate and that she needed to complete the process to avoid being arrested.

"It was in fact all a ploy to scare the victim into paying fictitious fees. Altogether the victim lost $3000 through the fraudster's use of pressure tactics and intimidation based on perceived consequences," said Clark.

If you suspect that you may be a target of fraud, or if you have already sent funds, Clark said "don't be embarrassed - you're not alone."

For more information on frauds and scams, how to recognize them and how to report them, go to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre webstei at www.antifraudcentre.ca.

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