Police issue warning after senior scammed out of $19,000

The Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS) has issued a warning to the public after an Oshawa senior was conned out of $19,000 by a scammer claiming to be from the Canadian Revenue Agency.

“The DRPS continue to get calls daily from residents reporting that they have received calls from a person claiming to be an officer from the CRA. In this incident, the 68-year-old victim was contacted by a fraudster and told that he owed a substantial amount of back taxes. The suspect then threatened that if monies are not paid, there would be consequences. The victim went to a Bitcoin ATM and deposited the funds,” reads a media release.

“In other cases suspects will negotiate payment and suggest a lesser amount collected by way of a third party card, gift card, credit card, pre-paid gift card or deposits into a Bitcoin ATM, installed at several locations within Durham.”

Police say that victims in Durham Region have lost several thousands of dollars through this type of Bitcoin transaction.

The media release notes that CRA staff will not ask for personal information of any kind by email or text message; request payments by prepaid credit cards; give taxpayers’ information to another person, (unless authorization is provided by the taxpayer); or leave personal information on an answering machine.

Police offer the following tips to protect yourself from fraud:

  • Caller ID is a useful function, however, the information displayed can be altered by criminals. Don’t rely strictly on 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; and,
  • Keep your access codes, user ID, passwords, and PINs secret.

“These warnings should be discussed with seniors or other vulnerable people who do not have access to this information via the internet,” police said.

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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