A 90-year-old Langley woman was just about dragged into the scamming of a 75-year-old West Vancouver woman.
West Vancouver Police unravelled a strange new twist on the tax scam.
A 75-year-old West Vancouver woman was contacted by someone claiming to represent the Canada Revenue Agency and demanding $5,000 for unpaid taxes.
The senior complied and forwarded the cash to an address given to her, an address in Langley.
“The scammer also requested the victim place a false return name on the envelope,” said West Vancouver Const. Jeff Palmer.
The woman’s son discovered the payment, realized it for what it was and contacted the West Vancouver Police.
“Fortunately, the payment had been sent by registered mail and, working with Canada Post, officers managed to intercept the mailed cash payment before it was picked up,” Palmer said.
In the meantime, the Langley senior has been told she won a contest and went to the post office to collect the prize, as per instructions.
She was briefly detained and questioned.
“Investigators now believe the woman was actually an unwitting participant in the scam attempt,” he added.
Investigators believe the woman had been set up to receive a cash payment and would then likely have been targeted by the scam artists, had the cash payment been collected.
West Vancouver Police believe the women were scammed by the same person or persons but have not been able to identify them.
So they’ve issued a warning for people to understand that the Canada Revenue Agency does not phone people, does not take payment through untraceable money orders, prepaid credit cards nor mailed cash payments.
“Taxpayers should be vigilant when they receive, by telephone, mail, text message or email, communication that claims to be from the Canada Revenue Agency unexpectedly claiming an unpaid tax debt or requesting personal information such as a social insurance number, credit card number, bank account number, or passport number,” Palmer noted.
He explained that scam artists might claim they need personal information so the taxpayer can receive a refund or government benefit. They can also use threatening or coercive language to scare people into paying fictitious tax debts.
Another method scammers use to create realistic looking websites that gather information on victims. People should ensure they are on legitimate government websites before providing any personal information and not to click on any live links in emails claiming to be about unpaid taxes.
If you receive a call saying you owe money to the CRA, you should contact the Canada Revenue Agency directly. The CRA will not send email with a link asking you to divulge personal or financial information.
If you believe you or any person you assist in caring for has been victimized by fraud contact your local police.