By Martin Allen 
BELLEVILLE – Central Hastings OPP said they think a new automated system is to blame for an increased number of tax-scam phone calls.
QNet News was told the Canada Revenue Agency scam started in September of 2015. Victims used to be contacted by a person, who would tell them they owe back-taxes that needed to be paid immediately or they would face serious consequences. Now, an automated message will give you a phone number to call.
“We get an average of 10 to 20 reports a day of people getting this message.”
A resident of Marmora contacted police Sept. 20, after she responded to a suspicious message from a man claiming to be with CRA. The women was told she owed back taxes that needed to be paid off using gift cards. She told police she was intimidated by the caller’s harassing behaviour and was defrauded hundreds of dollars.
The CRA cautions the public on these tax scams , asking people to stay vigilant with these tips:
- Do not take immediate action.
- Ask yourself, ‘why would the CRA be asking for personal information they likely already have? Why would the CRA want me to pay debt using gift cards?’
- You can contact the CRA to confirm if you actually owe back taxes, but be cautious about using any number the caller gives you. Find the number yourself from a reliable source, like the CRA website .
If you think you’ve been scammed, or receive a suspicious call claiming you owe money, phone the scam and fraud hotline at 1-888-495-8501.
In August, a Woodbridge,ON woman’s video of her conversation with a tax scammer went viral after she got the fraudster to admit his con. Watch the video below.