It’s labelled as the most wonderful time of the year, but it is also likely the busiest, and the hustle and bustle of the holiday season can leave some residents more susceptible to becoming a victim of the many scams being perpetrated by criminals in the community.
According to Durham Regional Police, fraud investigators are once again seeing a rise in the efforts to scam residents out of money under the guise of the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA).
Close to home, a Clarington man was recently taken for $17,000 by such a scheme.
The victim said he was contacted by an individual claiming to represent the CRA who said he owed $12,000 in back taxes.
After sending that money, he was further instructed to purchase $4,000 in gift cards to cover the costs of withdrawing his arrest warrant.
These types of incidents are too familiar to Jessica Gunson, an intelligence researcher and analyst with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, the country’s central watchdog of fraudulent activity.
Gunson says it’s too early to tell if fraud will increase over the holidays, but the centre’s data shows the number of scams have seen a significant increase as 2017 continues on.
In October 2016, the takedown of a fraud call centre in India led to a drastic decline in the number of reports made to the Anti-Fraud Centre.
In fact, the number of complaints dropped from 3,579 in July 2016 to only 61 in December.
However, since the beginning of this year, complaints have steadily risen upwards, jumping from 209 in January to 1,111 in October.
Overall in 2017, the Anti-Fraud Centre reports 576 victims have lost more than $2 million through CRA scams, with more than half of that activity taking place in Ontario.
Gunson notes the most targeted demographic for CRA scams are those between the ages of 50 and 69. Residents between the ages of 30 and 79 are responsible for 71 per cent of complaints made to the Anti-Fraud Centre for this specific type of scam.
Read the full story over at the Oshawa Express.