A Canada Revenue Agency scam is making the rounds in South Delta, so much so in fact that a Delta police officer has been targeted.
Const. Leisa Schaefer, district liaison officer for the Tsawwassen Community Police Station, received her first text from someone claiming they were from the CRA on Dec. 21.
She received a second text on Jan. 8. Both contained links prompting her to click on them to provide the CRA with vital information required to process her tax information correctly.
“If I was to tap on that link I could potentially be revealing lots of personal information,” Schaefer said. “People have to be extra cautious not to tap on those links just out of curiosity. It’s best to just delete those texts.”
As a police officer, Schaefer said she has seen this kind of scam and many others like it hundreds of times and knows the warning signs, but the average citizen might not be so aware.
“That is what the scam artists are hoping for — to have enough personal information whereby the person thinks the information is legit,” Schaefer said.
“I had another citizen come in to see me the other day regarding a text they had received. The scammer was seeking $5,000 and was able to provide a great deal of personal information about the citizen, enough that it sounded legitimate. If you get these phone calls, if you get these texts and you don’t feel 100 per cent comfortable, then come see us.
”The Tsawwassen community police office is here, Ladner’s office is here. Pop in and speak to us and we will assist you and help you work it out.”
Schaefer said the common CRA scam is more prevalent as tax season looms.
“They use intimidation techniques, they will say there is a warrant out for your arrest and that the police will be at your door if you don’t pay up and it scares people,” she said. “They will utilize everything they can in the hopes that a few will fork over money.”
Schaefer wants to remind the public that government, including the CRA, does not send a text message when you owe money; the government will not pressure you to pay a fine in minutes or hours and that government does not accept payment in Bitcoin, gift cards or prepaid credit card.
“If you did not initiate the call with the CRA, or with your financial institution, then do not engage. Do not click or open the links, just delete the email, delete the text,” she said. “If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is.”
If you suspect you have been the target of a scam, contact police, your financial institution, credit card company or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.