Fraudulent Calls Expose Calgary Residents to Credit Card Fraud, Identity Theft

28 April 2015

Members of Calgary’s Southeast Asian community have been victimized by a scam in recent months that involves bogus calls from callers pretending to be from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). They are informed that they owe back taxes and in order to avoid arrest, they must provide credit card information to pay the debt immediately. Police believe that the scammers may be targeting recent immigrants with little knowledge of Canadian tax practices.

Thirty-five people fell victim to this scam in 2014, losing a total of $60,000. Police told news sources that the criminals usually have some information about the victims to make the call seem more legitimate. For example, they may know the victim’s name and address, and in some cases even bank account details, supporting the idea that this is a targeted operation.

In response to this scam, the CRA has put out statements stressing that they never ask for personal information of any kind from taxpayers, including credit card numbers. They will also never threaten a citizen with immediate arrest for owing back taxes. If you receive a call from the CRA that you think may be fraudulent, the agency encourages you to call one of their registered numbers, 1-800-959-8281, to check whether the call is legitimate. Anyone who suspects they have been a victim of a scam should contact their local police and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre immediately.

A credit monitoring and credit protection service can alert you to certain types of activity on your accounts, helping to protect your credit score from being damaged by identity theft and credit fraud. These services are especially helpful if you have already been victimized by a credit scam, since your information may still be circulating among criminals.