(HURON COUNTY, ON) – Huron County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) would like to remind the public that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) tax scam is still very much active after a local Huron East was burned recently for $6,000.

Earlier this month, the victim, a male in his 40’s, received a call purporting to come from the CRA. The scammer advised the victim there were some inconsistencies with his business tax return and he owed $7600 in back taxes. The scammer was very adamant that the owed money had to be paid immediately.

The victim was then sent an email that included some bar codes with an account number. The victim was then instructed to attend a convenience store in London to make the deposit through the store ATM machine. The victim proceeded to follow the scammer’s demands and deposited $6,000 into the account the scammer had set up.

OPP and The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) continue to receive reports associated to tax scams targeting Canadians by email and phone. The tax scam involves two main variations:

The recent Huron East case was an example of the first.  It involves fraudsters calling consumers impersonating the CRA, claiming a recent audit has identified discrepancies from past filed taxes. Repayment is required immediately. Fraudsters threaten consumers that failure to pay will result in additional fees and/or jail time or deportation. Fraudsters often request payment by a money service business or pre-paid cards / gift cards (iTunes).

The second involves consumers receiving an email indicating a refund is pending from the CRA. The email includes a link that directs consumers to a website that mimics the actual CRA. Consumers are urged to input their information before receiving the refund (email money transfer). Victims that input their information, including Social Insurance Number (SIN), Date of Birth (DOB), banking information, are subject to identity fraud. No refund is ever issued.

Here are some warning signs to help protect yourself from becoming the next victim.

1.   The CRA will never ask for personal information through an email or text message or by clicking on a link.

2.   The CRA will never request payment by prepaid credit cards or iTunes gift cards, and it does not send emails containing details of a tax refund or Interac e-transfer payments.

3.   The CRA advises Canadians to confirm the status of their tax accounts before taking any action that may be the result of pressure from suspicious calls or emails, and to verify the legitimacy of the communication by contacting the CRA directly at 1-800-959-8281.

4.   For more information about fraud scams involving the CRA, visit Protect yourself against fraud.

5.   If you’ve shared personal information, contact Equifax and Trans Union to place fraud alerts on your account.

6.   If you’ve shared banking information with the scammers, contact your financial institution to place alerts on your account.