A Hagersville resident called police last Thursday after being contacted by a person claiming to be a representative of the CRA. The alleged CRA representative asked for the resident’s social insurance number and date of birth.

OPP reminds the public that CRA will not solicit personal information over the telephone or internet, nor will they ask you to send money.

Scammers will falsely identify themselves as government employees and often target the elderly to solicit banking and other personal information, even telling victims that they could face criminal charges for outstanding funds they claim are owed to the government.

One tactic used is a notification by phone or email from the “CRA” claiming there is a refund pending. In order for the recipient to receive the refund they must provide personal information.

The email includes a link that directs consumers to a website that looks like the actual CRA. Consumers are asked to fill in their personal information such as Social Insurance Number (SIN), Date of Birth (DOB) and banking information before receiving the refund (email money transfer).

Victims who input their personal information are subject to identity fraud. No refund is ever issued.

Another tactic commonly used is where individuals receive a notification by telephone or email that they owe “back taxes” as a result of an audit. The fraudster will say that payment must be made immediately to avoid a fine or the recipient is told there is an outstanding warrant that can be avoided if the payment is made promptly. In many cases, individuals are told they will be arrested if the taxes are not paid right away.

In most cases, the CRA will use registered mail to contact consumers – not email or phone. Contact the CRA directly to confirm you owe back taxes or are entitled to a refund. Never provide personal information over the telephone, by text or email. The CRA would never request payment by money service business, iTunes gift cards or bitcoin.

Any documents containing personal information that need to be discarded should always be shredded or destroyed rather than just put in recycling or garbage.

If you’ve shared personal information, contact Equifax and Trans Union to place fraud alerts on your account.  If you’ve shared banking information with the scammers, contact your financial institution to place alerts on your account.

For more information on fraud, call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or visit http://www.antifraudcentre.ca

The OPP and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre partners – the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Competition Bureau of Canada – are sharing tips and links to various resources online to help the public recognize, reject and report fraud on social media by using the hashtags #DontBeAVictim and #OPPtips.

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