Police warn of scams circulating in Durham Region

Residents of Durham Region are warned that telephone scams are continuing in the area with suspects stating they are from Canada Revenue Agency and in some cases impersonating police officers.

According to Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS), area residents have been receiving calls from someone claiming to be an officer from the CRA. The person tells the victims they owe a substantial amount of back taxes before threatening that they will be arrested if the funds are not paid. Police say the suspect negotiates a payment and will suggest a lesser amount collected by way of a third party card, gift card, credit card or pre-paid gift card.

Fraudsters are also reportedly contacting residents by telephone displaying a phone number that may be similar to a relative’s number on the call display. When the victim answers the phone, police say the scammer claims to be a police officer and advises them that their loved one is in custody and that they need to send money electronically to have them released from custody. In some cases they will even send a taxi to the victim’s residence to transport them to a bank.

Police say the suspects in these cases are targeting new immigrants, senior citizens and residents who may not be fluent in English. These suspects prey on vulnerable people and will try anything to deprive them financially.

Residents are reminded that true representatives from Canada Revenue Agency will never:

  • ask for personal information of any kind by email or text message
  • request payments by prepaid credit cards
  • give taxpayer’s information to another person, unless authorization is provided by the taxpayer
  • leave personal information on an answering machine

Police offer the following advice for avoiding being a victim of fraud:

  • Caller ID is a useful function, however, the information displayed can be altered by criminals. Never use only the displayed information to confirm the identity of the caller whether it be an individual, a company or a government entity;
  • Never provide personal information through the Internet or by email. The CRA does not ask you to provide personal information by email;
  • Keep your access codes, user ID, passwords, and PINs secret.

For more information or to report a scam attempt, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at: www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca or call 1-888-495-8501.

Anyone wishing to report a fraud in Durham Region is asked to contact Durham Regional Police at 1-888-579-1520.

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