Collingwood OPP takes aim at CRA scam with anti-fraud initiative

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The Collingwood OPP is looking to put an end to a scam that has bilked local residents out of thousands of dollars.

The Collingwood and Blue Mountains detachment is launching an anti-fraud campaign, taking aim at fraudsters posing as employees from the Canadian Revenue Agency.

OPP Cons. Martin Hachey said residents will receive calls telling them they owe thousands of dollars or to a financial institution.

He said they threaten potential arrest, deportation or fines unless the individual purchases gift cards to pay the debt, wires money to them or provides other personal information.

“There is a lot of urgency put into their message,” said Hachey.

He said in many cases, the individual will go to a store and  “end up purchasing a larger than normal amount of cards.” They will then send the gift card numbers to the fraudsters.

“We have had numerous reports of persons falling for this type of crime,” he said in an interview with simcoe.com. “In most cases it will be in multiple thousands of dollars. It’s so well choreographed and well orchestrated by the fraudsters, and in many cases it’s so believable.”

He said the anti-fraud initiative will start over the next few weeks in an effort to inform residents of the scam.

Hachey said auxiliary officers will be dropping off a fact sheet on the scam to stores in the community that sell gift cards or provide wire transfer services. He said the hope is employees will look for customers purchasing a large quantity of gift cards.

“We’re hoping store employees, who will have access to these (fact sheets), will be able to provide this information to the customer to make them think they could have been targeted,” he said.

Hachey reminds residents that if necessary, the CRA will inform you owe money through documentation that is sent through the mail.

He said if you receive this kind of phone call, don’t provide any information, hang up and call police.

He said while the number the call comes from may appear to be local, it’s likely not.

Read the entire story over at Simcoe News.

This story was summarized by Canadian Fraud News Inc.