Scammers out in force in 2018 tax season

Every year around this time (and indeed, increasingly, throughout the year), we hear of people who have either been scammed or have had someone try unsuccessfully to scam them.

It always ramps up around now because it’s tax return time. Scammers prey on people’s fear of being hit with a huge bill because they’ve done something wrong on their taxes. Not something deliberately wrong — in all likelihood, most of the intentional tax cheats sleep like babies — but those who missed something they didn’t know they needed or put in something they were supposed to exclude. Citizens are afraid of the Canada Revenue Agency.

So people, particularly seniors, tend to be vulnerable to the unscrupulous who call in an attempt to extract money. Tax scams generally have a few things in common, though there is a range of sophistication.

Often, they’ll start with a phone call, either with a person on the end of the line or an automated message that informs the hapless receiver that the call originates from the CRA. After that elevates the listener’s heart rate, they’re then told they owe money for some reason — the more incomprehensible the better, for the scammers. That is typically followed by the threat of arrest or other legal action if the person doesn’t pay up immediately — as in, give us your credit card number over the phone right now or find the RCMP at your door.

The more developed scams will have another number at the ready, should someone be suspicious. Ostensibly this is the person to call if you have any questions or want to verify what you’ve been told. Of course, it’s just someone at another phone, probably in the same room as the person who first called you, who’s part of the scam too. But psychologically, victims feel since they are making that second call, dialling themselves, somehow it adds veracity to the whole thing.

Of course, the CRA does not act in this manner. They will not phone you if there is something wrong with your taxes. They will not demand immediate payment over the phone. They will never demand payment in bitcoin (yes, really, scammers are this brazen). They will not send the RCMP to arrest you.

In fact, the CRA will not even use the phone to make original contact. They use Canada Post. Yep, good old snail mail.

So, if you get one of these calls, hang up. If you get scammed, call the RCMP. As embarrassed as you may feel, it may help others avoid walking in your shoes.

Just Posted

Police investigating after body found in Terrace

Discovery Friday afternoon near Olson Ave.

Skeena Voices | Painting the world a brighter place

Marilyn Lachapelle brings life to rocks to heal and spread happiness

Northwest mobile unit to help those at heart of mental health, addiction crisis

Province, Northern Health unveils new unit in Terrace to bridge gaps in services

New Mills Memorial project said to be on track

But Skeena MLA Ellis Ross not convinced

Bail hearing adjourned for April in Terrace manslaughter case

Veronica Leanne Bolton, 34, is accused in death of Rene Fagan, 85

Protective human chain forms around Victoria mosque for Friday prayer

Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

Boy who went missing from park remains largest probe in Victoria police history

The four-year old Victoria boy went missing without a trace on March 24, 1991

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

B.C. driver caught going 207 km/h on motorcycle along Okanagan Highway

A motorcyclist was caught by Kelowna RCMP going 207 km/h on Highway 97C

Protective human chain forms around B.C. mosque for Friday prayer

Vancouver Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

B.C. fire department offers tips to keep your home safe during wildfire season

With wildfire season getting closer, the Penticton Fire Dept. offer tips to keep your home safe

Fierce house cat spotted as ‘aggressor’ in face off with coyote in B.C. backyard

North Vancouver resident Norm Lee captures orange cat versus coyote in backyard showdown

Wilson-Raybould to reveal more details, documents on SNC-Lavalin affair

Former attorney general has written to the House of Commons justice committee

Most Read