No Emergency; Not Canada Revenue Agency Calling… It's A Scam!
March is Fraud Prevention Month
Orillia, ON - As part of the annual Fraud Prevention Month awareness campaign, Ontario
Provincial Police (OPP) want you to confirm who you're dealing with before sending
any money anywhere for any reason.
The Emergency Scam - also
known as the 'Grandparent Scam' - the more recent Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), and other agency-related extortion threats
have increased the financial losses sustained by unsuspecting victims. In 2016,
the Emergency (or Grandparent) Scam claimed 474 victims in Canada from more than
1,100 complaints who lost nearly $2.5 million. The CRA fraud drew 15,091 complaints,
resulting in 751 identified victims who lost a combined $2.49 million. Police admit
95 percent of the crimes go unreported.
In the typical Emergency Scam,
the victim will receive a frantic phone call from someone claiming to be a grandchild
or loved one. The caller will explain that they are involved in some sort of mishap
or are having trouble returning from a foreign country and need money 'right away'.
In the CRA scam, the criminals extort money from their victims by telephone, mail,
text message or email, a fraudulent communication that claims to be from the Canada
Revenue Agency requesting personal information such as a social insurance number,
credit card number, bank account number, or passport number. Fraudsters impersonate
the real CRA by telephone or by email. Fraudsters are either phishing for your identification or asking that outstanding taxes
be paid by a money service business or by pre-paid debit/credit cards. They may
insist that this personal information is needed so that the taxpayer can receive
a refund or a benefit payment. Cases of fraudulent communication could also involve
threatening or coercive language to scare individuals into paying fictitious debt
to the CRA. Other communications urge taxpayers to visit a fake CRA website where
the taxpayer is then asked to verify their identity by entering personal information.
These are scams and taxpayers should never respond to these fraudulent communications
nor click on any of the links provided.
Here are some warning signs:
- Urgency -- The scammer always makes the request sound very urgent, which may cause
the victim to not verify the story.
- Fear -- The scammer plays on the victim's emotions by generating a sense of fear.
For instance they may say, "I am scared and I need help from you."
- Secrecy -- The scammer pleads with the victim not to tell anyone about the situation,
such as, "Please don't tell Dad or Mom, they would be so mad."
- Request for Money Transfer -- Money is usually requested to be sent by a money transfer
company such as Money Gram, Western Union or even through your own banking institution.
To avoid becoming a victim, police advise you to first check with another family
member or trusted friend to verify the information BEFORE sending money or providing
credit card information by phone, e-mail or online.
If you or someone you know suspect they've been a victim of the Emergency Scam or
someone posing as a Canada Revenue Agency employee, hang up and contact your local
police service. You can also file a complaint through the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS),
or online at https://www.tipsubmit.com/start.htm
"Criminals rely on your natural urge to want to act quickly to help loved ones in
an emergency or respond to a respected government agency. Balance that urge with
skepticism and common sense. Confirm the person's identity and their story…and never
send money to anyone you don't know and trust."
- Deputy Commissioner Rick BARNUM, OPP Investigations and Organized Crime
The OPP and the Canadian Anti-Fraud
Centre partners -- the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Competition Bureau of Canada -, and police services across the
country are working to prevent all Canadians from becoming victims of fraud. The
OPP is posting tips and links to various resources online to help the public recognize,
reject and report fraud on social media by using the hashtags #FPM2017 #DontBeAVictim
OPP YouTube Emergency Scam
OPP YouTube Emergency Scam
The Little Black Book of Scams