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Beware of income tax scammers

scam1It happened to my ninety-year-old father a couple of weeks ago and today it happened to me. I received a robo-call from someone claiming to be with Canada Revenue Agency demanding that I call a certain number to settle an outstanding income tax payment. The caller had a Caribbean accent, gave an identity number and suggested that unless I called back within twenty-four hours I would need the assistance of an attorney as they would not be responsible for the consequences, or words to that effect.

Scamming innocent seniors is a sad way to illegally extort money. The majority of Canadians are law-abiding citizens and we play by the rules, which means we pay our taxes, however grudgingly, but we generally comply with Canadian law.  That’s part of the privilege of living in our wonderful country. The criminals who make these calls target anyone, not just seniors. Like the Nigerian heirs who supposedly need a safe Canadian bank to deposit their fortune, these scammers are without conscience. Someone in a call centre somewhere is making thousands of calls and if only a fraction of one percent of those they call respond to their demands for money or personal information, then it’s worth their while.

Seniors are not the only victims of tax scammers.
Seniors are not the only victims of tax scammers.

Please warn those you know, seniors or otherwise, to be aware of these scams. Revenue Canada only mails official documents that come with an official Revenue Canada mailing address and return envelope. We hear about unfortunate people being duped despite the constant warnings on TV news, but the scams obviously have a degree of success because they continue.

Because I was curious about the level of threat being made, I listened to the entire pre-recorded message, then I hung up. I wish I’d made a note of the telephone number they were calling from so I could report it to Canada Revenue Agency’s anti-fraud centre. Please do not let someone you know fall for this. Get the word out. It’s tax season and there are many who are vulnerable. Here’s a link to CRA’s advice on the issue: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/nwsrm/lrts/2015/l150610-eng.html

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