Over the last few months, residents of the Niagara Region and surrounding areas have been bombarded with scam phone calls from people claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), reports the Niagara Regional Police.
Police advise that the phone calls include threatening language to scare and intimidate people into believing they owe the government money. The scammers claim if the people they target do not comply, they will risk legal action. They also disguise their numbers as local Niagara numbers to further deceive residents.
Scammers ask for personal information such as social insurance numbers and banking information. The caller’s goal Is to convince individuals to transfer money to them and keep them on the phone long enough for the transfer to go through.
Niagara Regional Police Fraud Unit have been investigating these claims and warns the public to be alert to these types of phone calls. They say the CRA would not use language that the scammers use. CRA does not threaten arrest or negotiate payments over the phone. Additionally, it does not accept electronic transfer or wire payments. Nor would it ask for payment using gift cards or bitcoin.
Here are some additional tips to avoid falling victim to phone scammers. Hang up the phone if you suspect a scam. It is better to be cautious and do your own research to determine if claims from a caller are true, before providing any personal information.
Do not provide personal information such as your Social Insurance Number to anyone over the phone, regardless of who they claim to be. Share cautions and anti-scam tips with friends and family, especially elderly people who may not have heard about the scams or know how to deal with them.
Anyone who has fallen victim to a suspected scam call can file a report with police by calling: 905-688-4111.
You can report a suspected scam call to Phonebusters: 1-888-495-8501 or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre: 1-888-495-8501.