St. John's, N.L. — Police are issuing a warning to the public about scam callers who are trying to trick people into believing they owe money to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
The RCMP said Wednesday they have received several complaints from residents from this province who have been contacted by individuals claiming to be with CRA and are threatening criminal investigation or possible arrest for unpaid taxes.
These types of communications — whether via telephone, email or texts — are fraudulent.
The RCMP said the CRA never asks for personal information by email or text message and never requests payment by prepaid credit card or wire transfer. The CRA also never shares your tax information with another person or organization unless you agree that it can be shared and the agency also never leaves personal information on an answering machine, threatens you or uses nasty language.
A popular technique for scammers to use is caller ID spoofing. This allows the criminal to disguise their calls. The call will appear to be coming from local or familiar numbers like the CRA or police to trick you into answering the phone and trusting the caller.
According to the RCMP, here are warning signs and tips on how to protect yourself:
• Don’t trust your call display. It may say “Police” or “CRA," but, in reality, it is actually a scammer.
• If you get a call from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency seeking personal information, hang up. Call the phone number provided on your account statement, in the phone book or on the company or government agency’s website to verify the authenticity of the request.
• Never give out personal information such as account numbers, social insurance number (SIN), mother’s maiden name, passwords or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls.
The RCMP are warning residents to never respond or give out any personal information. Contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre toll free at 1-888-495-8501 or online at www.antifraudcentre.ca.