Phone scam making the rounds in Kelowna

Police would like to raise public awareness around two scams that have been making the rounds over the past few months.

  • Feb. 26, 2016 9:00 a.m.

Police would like to raise public awareness around two scams that have been making the rounds over the past few months.

The Kelowna RCMP is noting an increase in telephone scams where the caller claims to be from the Canada Revenue Agency  however is not.

“These calls are fraudulent and could result in identity and financial theft. Some recent telephone scams involve the suspect threatening taxpayers or using aggressive and forceful language to scare them into paying fictitious debt to the CRA,” said Const. Jesse O’Donaghey, in a press release.

“Victims often receive a phone call from a person claiming to work for the CRA who says that taxes are owed. The suspect usually requests immediate payment by credit card or will convince the victim to purchase a prepaid credit card and demand that they call the suspect back immediately with the information. The taxpayer is often threatened with court charges, jail or even deportation.”

If you get such a call, hang up and report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre of the RCMP.

To help you identify possible scams, use the following guidelines:

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA):

·         Never requests prepaid credit cards;

·         Never asks for information about your passport, health services card or driver’s licence;

·         Never leaves personal information on your answering machine or voice mail service;

When in doubt, ask yourself the following:

·         Is there a reason the CRA may be calling?  DO I have a tax balance outstanding?

·         Is the requester asking for information I would not include on my tax returns?

·         Is the requester asking for information the CRA already has on file?

The Kelowna RCMP is also noting an increase in empty envelope ATM scams which at times leaves the victim on the hook to their financial institution for hundreds of dollars.

“Some recent scams involve a middle aged male who approaches victims on the street, often in downtown Kelowna.  He presents well and asks the victim for their help to deposit a cheque using their debit card and bank account,” said O’Donaghey.

“The suspect has a variety of excuses why he cannot use his own bank account and briefly shows the victim what appears to be a cheque. The suspect accompanies the victim to their bank and uses the ATM to deposit an empty envelope.”

The victim, believing a legitimate cheque was just deposited into his or her account, then allows the suspect to make a withdrawal for several hundred dollars. Once the bank discovers the deposit envelope is empty, the victim bank account is frozen and the victim is held accountable for the outstanding withdrawal.

The Kelowna RCMP would like to remind the public to be cautious of strangers approaching you requesting your help to make a deposit. Police urge you not to give anyone your bank card, or your personal PIN identification number. This scam always results in a financial loss to the victim as the victim is responsible for what is deposited and withdrawn from their bank account.

For more information on fraud prevention, please visit the:

BC RCMP Website at http://bc.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/ViewPage.action?siteNodeId=2074&languageId=1&contentId=29638 or

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at www.antifraudcentre.ca

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