The NT RCMP Financial Crimes Unit is advising the citizens of the Northwest Territories of a continuing telephone fraud scam.
The NT RCMP Financial Crimes Unit advise that fraudulent activity has recently been reported in the Northwest Territories, and suggest residents be wary of any demands for cash or in-kind transfer of funds when dealing with businesses, organizations or persons; on the phone, via text or on the Internet.
In July 2018, Behchoko RCMP received a call from an individual who had fallen victim to a telephone scam in which fraudsters posed as representatives of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The fraudster threatened to have the victim arrested or jailed for overdue taxes and in order to have the matter resolved, the victim was ordered to purchase iTunes and Steam gift cards and disclose the serial numbers. A loss of over three thousand dollars was reported in this incident.
In August 2018, Yellowknife RCMP received a call from an individual who reported being contacted by the CRA stating they owed money and in order to resolve the matter, they were directed to purchase Steam gift cards totalling $1,500.
"In both instances, the callers were pretending to be calling from the CRA and convinced the victims to purchase in-kind transfer or digital gift cards. While the CRA fraud scam has appeared across Canada in several forms, call, email etc., this is the first time we are aware of in which the digital / gift cards were requested and used to transfer money" states Marie York-Condon, NT RCMP Media Relations. "We are concerned that the fraudsters are changing their game so that they can prey on people who may not understand exactly what they are doing. People of the Northwest Territories need to be vigilant about financial transactions over the phone. Tell your friends, neighbours, relatives, elders and children to make sure they are talking to the proper authorities on calls demanding money".
NT RCMP advise the persons perpetuating the fraud can be from literally anywhere in the world, which means the money is being transferred to anywhere in the world, making it difficult to track, trace and investigate.
Being familiar with the following information can help you avoid becoming a victim of fraud. We encourage you to share this information.
The CRA will NEVER:
- Use aggressive or threatening language
- Threaten arrest or to send police to your place of residence or employment
CRA does not accept payment by:
- Prepaid credit cards or gift cards (such as iTunes, Google Play, etc.)
- E-Transfer/Digital currency (such as Bitcoin, Steam cards, etc.)
- Wire Transfer (such as Western Union, Money Gram, etc.)
The CRA accepted payment methods are:
- Online banking
- Debit card
- Pre-authorized debit
- Credit card or Pay Pal through a third-party service provider
The persons running these types of scams are also acquiring the technology to create fake phone numbers that appear authentic, with caller ID displays perhaps showing CRA, or Canada Revenue Agency. If you are not sure the call you received is from the CRA, avoid taking any action as a result of pressure or threats from suspicious callers. Confirm the status of your tax accounts and verify whether the communication is really from the CRA by calling 1-800-959-8281 or by checking My Account at www.canada.ca/my-cra-account. You will never be penalized for double-checking that you're talking to the real CRA.
If you or a family member has been a victim, report the fraud to your local RCMP detachment.
For more information on frauds and scams, you can visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online at http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/reportincident-signalerincident/index-eng.htm