June 24th, 2024

Police remind public of automated phone scams

By Jeremy Appel on August 16, 2018.


The Medicine Hat Police Service is again warning Hatters not to respond to automated phone messages claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency.

The MHPS tweeted Wednesday that CRA scammers “are back in full force.”

Sgt. Mike Fischer says although CRA scams occur year round with a particular emphasis on tax season in the spring, MHPS has recently had a couple people come to headquarters to complain about the calls.

“Every time that happens, if there’s enough of a volume, we’ll put out a media release, just reminding people of all the things they should know about CRA and the scams,” Fischer said.

“There’s no way to determine whether or not the numbers are going up or going down. It just has to do with people who decide to voice their concern to us, but there’s nothing to suggest that anyone’s more or less at risk than they used to be.”

There’s little the police can do other than warn the public, given the scammers’ relative sophistication, added Fischer.

“There’s not a whole lot we can do, because generally these guys are good at what they do,” he said.

“They’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to be anonymous, so they always come up with some kind of trick, where you have to send them a pre-paid credit card or meet them in a public place to take payment, somewhere where there’s maybe no cameras available.”

The fact that many of these scammers are from out of Alberta, and often out of Canada, makes it particularly difficult to crack down on them, Fischer said.

“Good luck finding a name,” he said. “In order to charge someone, you need to know who you’re dealing with.”

If you receive a phone call from the CRA, it’s a scam.

“The CRA does not use the phone. They will never phone you,” said Fischer.

“They almost always send it by mail … They’re not going to ask you for your health card or passport or banking information. That’s not what CRA does.”

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