Tax scam hits 51 Penticton residents in one day

The Penticton RCMP would like to remind residents that it is okay to hang up on the tax man.

The Penticton RCMP would like to remind residents that it is okay to hang up on the tax man.

On Wednesday, Penticton RCMP received 51 complaints from residents who were bullied by a scam artist identifying themselves as from Canada Revenue Agency.

“I am asked to remind people of this scam every few months,” said media spokesperson Cpl. Don Wrigglesworth, “If you have elderly relatives, please sit down with them and explain this scam and tell them to never pay anything or provide information because someone on the phone told them to, just hang up.”

Wrigglesworth said the caller demands for payment for taxes owed and, in some cases, threats were made. An incident on Thursday morning is being investigated further as the caller threatened to kill the person.  Another call last week had the potential victim become suspicious when he was told to pay his taxes by purchasing iTunes gift cards and sending them to the caller.

Wrigglesworth reminded that Canada Revenue Agency will never phone in this manner and communication with legitimate Canada Revenue Agency employees is conducted by mail or in person and always in a professional and respectful way.

RCMP said this scam has been successful because the caller is very aggressive, and if hung up on, will continue to call back. Calls are also sometimes being routed through systems that can display any phone number the scammer chooses.

Canada Revenue Agency said they will never ask for personal information by email or text message, request payment by prepaid credit card, share tax information with another person or organization (unless you have agreed it can be shared), leave personal information on an answering machine or threaten with police arrest or use nasty language.

To report a scam contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online at antifraudcentre.ca or toll-free at 1-888-495-8501. If you believe you may be the victim of fraud or have given personal or financial information by mistake, contact your local police service.