Fraud complex: $10k scam underscores need for vigilance

stock photo supplied Christiaan Colen

The phone rang and the man on the other end of the line said he was a lawyer.

As the woman listened, the “lawyer” said the woman’s granddaughter had been in a car crash. After police found drugs in the trunk of the car, the granddaughter was taken into custody.

However, the lawyer said that for $10,000, he could get her out.

The woman sent him the money.

The fraud, which happened on Aug. 8, is an example of the need for vigilance, explained Coquitlam RCMP media relations officer Const. Deanna Law.

“Fraudsters are always coming up with different tactics to scare people out of their money,” Law stated in a press release. “These scammers make the call seem urgent and authentic. They prey on the vulnerable in hopes fear will overcome their emotions and another will fall victim to their demands.”

Common scams

Somewhat ironically, some scammers have pretended to represent the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

The centre has received reports of phishing emails that look similar to automated emails the CAFC sends out. The phishing emails generally asks you to click on a link or download an attachment to see a report.

Variations on the scam include messages purporting to offer a rebate from Rogers, a warning about a parking ticket that must be paid, as well as a sum of money from the Government of Canada. Other scammers pose as representatives of a bank, Netflix or Amazon with some news about updating your account or a refund you’re entitled to.

While some of the scams include misspellings or random capitalization of letters, other look convincing, sometimes even including a reference number so users can access their e-transfer.

“The CAFC does not provide links to submitted reports,” the centre stated. If you receive a suspicious email, report it here.

A good rule to follow: If the Canada Revenue Agency is threatening to send you to jail, you are not dealing with the Canada Revenue Agency, no matter what your caller ID says.

Scammers often pose as CRA agents, altering their Caller ID to make it look like you’re getting a call from the Canada Revenue Agency.

Emails scams include sending a link that demands you complete in an online form with personal or financial details. Fraudsters will also sometimes send you an email asking you to click on a link to get your refund.

Other signs of a scam: CRA does not request money through Interac e-transfer, Bitcoin, prepaid credit cards or gift cards such as iTunes or Amazon cards.

General signs of phishing scams

  • Threats
  • Urgency
  • A request for sensitive information
  • News or a prize you’ve won or wealth you’ve inherited
  • A blurry logo
  • Image-only emails (you can’t highlight any of the text)

Click here for more tips on recognizing phishing scams.

If you are unsure if the CRA contacted you, call 1-800-959-8281 for individuals or 1-800-959-5525 for businesses. Click here for more info about CRA scams.

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