EDMONTON – The daughter of an Edmonton-area senior has a warning after her father was scammed out of more than $20,000.
Jenny Boychuk said her 78-year-old dad received a phone call from someone claiming to be from Canada Revenue Agency. The fraudsters told the retired farmer he owed $90,000 in back taxes and asked him to stay on the line. Under their direction, he drove to various Safeway stores in St. Albert buying as many $500 iTunes gift cards as he could.
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“They’d have him go out to his car in the parking lot, and sit down and read the iTunes cards back to them,” Boychuk said, shocked that her dad handed over any money at all.”My dad’s a very intelligent fellow.”
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“He was being threatened. He was being told both he and his wife were going to be arrested. He was being told not to answer the phone for anybody else,” Boychuk said.
In the end, the St. Albert resident handed over $20,300. Visa has told the family he will not be charged for the transactions, but the senior is still very shaken, and his daughter hopes others will use his story as a warning.
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The Edmonton Police Service knows the scam all too well.
“This is something that detectives in our economic crimes unit are very familiar with. It happens throughout the year, every year,” EPS spokesperson Scott Pattison said.
“The best thing to do is to not act spontaneously,” Pattison added.
The EPS suggests reaching out to loved ones or police when you receive a call or email you may be sceptical of and if the tone of it is threatening, hang up.
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According to the Canada Revenue Agency’s website:
“Taxpayers should be vigilant when they receive, either by telephone, mail, text message or email, a fraudulent communication that claims to be from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) requesting personal information such as a social insurance number, credit card number, bank account number, or passport number.”
Here are some other things the CRA will never do:
Threaten you with immediate arrest or prison sentenceAsk for information about your passport, health card, or driver’s licenceRequest personal information to be sent by emailEmail you a link requesting you fill in an online form with personal or financial detailsSend you a link to your refund by email or text messageSetup an in-person meeting in a public place to take a paymentDemand immediate payment by prepaid credit card
Here are some things the CRA may do, in certain circumstances:
Notify you by email when new mail is available for you to view in CRA secure portals such as My Account, My Business Account or Represent a ClientEmail you a link to a CRA webpage, form, or publication in response if you call the CRA looking for that informationSend you a notice of assessment or re-assessment by mail, or notify you by email when it is available to view in CRA secure portalsAsk for financial information such as the name of your bank and its locationRequest payment for a tax debt through any of the CRA’s payment optionsTake legal action to recover the money you owe if you refuse to pay your debt
If you think you may have been the victim of fraud, you can visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online or call 1-888-495-8501. You can also contact your local police service.
You can also find more information on the CRA website.
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