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Vernon RCMP warns of common scams as tax season nears

Police offer tips to keep money and personal information secure during Fraud Prevention Month
The Vernon North Okanagan RCMP is warning of the CRA scam and other common scams ahead of the 2024 tax season. (Black Press file photo)

March is Fraud Prevention Month and with tax season approaching, police are urging the public to stay vigilant and be on the lookout for scams and other tax related fraud schemes.

The Vernon North Okanagan RCMP says fraudsters typically exploit this time of year to use a variety of tactics to trick people into giving them their money of personal information. Among the most common is the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) scam.

The CRA scam has many different forms, but its goal is to steal money or information from the victim. It usually starts with an unsolicited email, phone call or text message claiming that the victim owes taxes, has committed to a tax-related offence, or the agency requires additional information. The scammer tries to pressure or scare the victim, threatening legal action or arrest if the victim doesn’t comply with demands for immediate payment or disclosure of personal information.

“This is one of the more common scams we see in the lead up to and during tax season,” said Const. Chris Terleski, media relations officer. “They’re trying to scare you into making a fast, emotional decision. The best thing you can do is hang up and not reply to any of the messages. Education and awareness are key. Staying informed about common scam tactics and educating others is the best way to look after each other and protect our community from financial harm.”

The RCMP offers the following tips to guard against tax related scams:

Be cautious with personal information

• Avoid sharing sensitive personal or financial information over the phone or through email unless you initiated the contact and are certain of the recipient’s identity.

• Remember, the CRA will never ask for information about your passport, health services card, driver’s licence or social insurance number.

• The CRA, police, or any government agency will never demand immediate payment or threaten arrest if you do not disclose personal or financial information.

Verify Communications

• If you receive communication claiming to be from the CRA, independently verify it’s authenticity by contacting the Agency directly using the contact information from their official website or by contacting the CRA directly at 1-800-959-8281.

Watch out for phishing attempts

• Be wary of unsolicited emails or messages requesting personal information or payments.

• The CRA will not send emails or text messages containing a link to a payment request or tax refund.

• The CRA will never request prepaid credit cards, gift cards, or cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin as payment

Stay informed

• Keep up to date on common scams and frauds and fraud tactics.

• Awareness is key to identifying and avoiding fraudulent schemes.

• Never rush into a decision because someone is pressuring you. Discuss it with a family member or trusted friend.

Report suspicious activity

• If you encounter a potential scam or fraudulent activity, report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online at or by calling 1-888-495-8501.

• If you’ve shared personal information, contact Equifax and Trans Union to place fraud alerts on your account;

• If you’ve shared banking information with a scammer, contact your financial institution to place alerts on your accounts

Additional information on fraud prevention can be found by visiting the BC RCMP website, or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

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Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started at the Morning Star as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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