Each year around tax season the Canada Revenue Agency scam pops up again, with callers posing as CRA officials demanding payment or else the receiver would face jail time for tax fraud — a claim that is untrue, as the agency does not call residents to demand money. Dustin Godfrey/Western News

Bank employees save Penticton woman $6k from CRA scam

Would-be victim said she was hit while vulnerable from a family issue and initially fell for the trap

Penticton bank employees saved a local woman nearly $6,000 after she nearly fell victim to the Canada Revenue Agency phone scam this week.

“I don’t know why; they were really good. I just believed that I was in trouble because I know that my accountant legitimately made a mistake on my taxes,” Holly MacKinnon said. “I should have known better, because the CRA actually owes me money.”

MacKinnon said she got a call from someone claiming to be from the CRA and when she called back she was hit with official-sounding details like affidavit numbers, badge numbers and the works.

Related: RCMP inundated with tax scam complaints

Currently going through a major family issue, MacKinnon said she feels she was vulnerable to begin with, so when she got the call saying she was in trouble, her defences were down.

“For some reason, I guess I just thought ‘OK, there was a mistake made. I could be in trouble.’ And so I went down to the bank and the ladies at CIBC were like ‘Um, no, you’re withdrawing $6,000, can I ask what for,’” MacKinnon said.

That was the moment that saved MacKinnon, a single mother, a large sum of money, and she was sat down by the bank employee and the manager to talk about the issue.

Related: Weight loss, cryptocurrency fraud among BBB’s top-10 scams of 2017

Looking back, MacKinnon said the signs were all there, but in the heat of the moment they were glazed over.

“The person I was talking to on the phone — I should have clued in then, because she advised me ‘don’t tell anybody what you’re doing.’ She was really intimidating. I actually believed I was going to get freaking arrested by the RCMP today and thrown in jail for fraud,” she said.

“So the ladies at CIBC saved my butt, today.”

MacKinnon said she wanted to send out the warning that the scam is out there, adding that she’s got a lot of sympathy for vulnerable individuals like the elderly who fall victim to the scams and actually lose money out of it.

Related: Two-thirds of seniors have been scammed online

When she called the RCMP about the incident, she said police told her she was the fifth or sixth person to call that day about the CRA scam.

Tax scams have been a perennial issue for years, now, cropping up every springtime. In fact, last spring, Penticton RCMP said it was inundated with calls about the scam.

Police did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication, but the scam typically comes with the same warnings from the RCMP.

“I want to remind the public that the Canada Revenue Agency does not call demanding payment and they do not threaten people. If someone calls identifying themselves as representing the CRA just hang up,” Cpl. Don Wrigglesworth said last year.

“Also, these calls do not need to be reported to the RCMP as it is stretching our resources when it comes to dealing with other matters. If you have hung up the phone, and not provided any information, then there is nothing to worry about. However, if you have been the victim of an actual fraud, then please report that.”

Report a typo or send us your tips, photos and video.

Dustin Godfrey | Reporter

@dustinrgodfrey

Send Dustin an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Submitted by Cassidi Markus)
Snow flurries forecasted for the Okanagan this weekend

Arctic front expected to bring colder than average temperatures and snow

A health-care worker prepares to swab a man at a walk-in COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal North, Sunday, May 10, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes)
Interior Health records 21 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend

Thirty-six cases remain active; two people are in the hospital, one of whom is in intensive care

Matthew Wedman was selected in the 2019 NHL entry draft by the Florida Panthers. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
Kelowna Rockets MVP inks deal with Charlotte Checkers

Matthew Wedman was the Kelowna Rockets 2019-20 MVP

(Osoyoos Fire Department)
Osoyoos Fire Department knock down car fire near house

Blaze was ‘really close’ to becoming a structure fire

Colin James put on a great show at the Comox Valley Exhibition Grounds as part of the 2019 Vancouver Island MusicFest. But his Okanagan tour for 2020 has been postponed until 2021. (Photo by Terry Farrell)
COVID-19 cancels more Vernon, Penticton, Cranbrook concerts

The Contenders and Colin James postponed until 2021

With local MLA Adam Olsen looking on, BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau said a Green government would convert BC Ferries into a Crown corporation Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Green leader Sonia Furstenau promises to convert BC Ferries back into Crown corporation

Promise comes Monday afternoon with five days left in campaign

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen is conducting a citizen survey. (Black Press file photo)
Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen survey to conclude Nov. 1

2020 Citizen Survey results used to evaluate services

Vernon Fire Rescue Services and Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP were called to a report of an electrical fire at the emergency response centre operated by Turning Points Collaborative Society on 37th Street Sunday, Oct. 18, just before 5:30 p.m. The fire displaced shelter residents who have been set up with services at the Vernon Recreation Complex. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Vernon shelter residents find refuge in hotels, motels, recreation complex after fire

Electrical fire at Turning Points Collaborative Society’s emergency response centre on 37th Street

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna man charged after allegedly stealing senior’s car

Elderly woman’s car was stolen while she was shopping

Salmon Arm RCMP say residents have been receiving calls from fraudster claiming to be with Publishers Clearing House. (File photo)
Salmon Arm RCMP warn of Publishers Clearing House telephone scam

Police say scammer requests fee to claim sweepstakes prizes

The Summerland Steam will play their first exhibition game of the season on Friday, Oct. 23. Unlike previous years, there will be no spectators allowed in the stands this year in an effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Brennan Phillips - Black Press)
Junior B hockey teams to play in empty arenas

Summerland Steam and other teams affected by decision to close facilities to fans

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

Most Read