Fraudster bilks Tri-City resident out of thousands of dollars
A Coquitlam resident was bilked out of thousands of dollars after falling for a Canada Revenue Agency telephone scam that has been popping up in Tri-Cities over the couple of weeks.
Mounties told The Tri-City News that victims are told they owe money on their taxes and that they need to transfer the funds into Home Depot gift cards or pre-paid credit cards. Those who hesitated, said Const. Jamie Chung, were told they could face a jail term of deportation.
"We can't say the exact number of dollars because it is still under investigation but it is in the thousands," Chung said. "It's not a small amount."
Police first warned the public about the scam last week when several people reported they had received strange calls about an overdue tax notice from a 647-558-3423 number.
Several intended victims became suspicious when the suspects on the other end of the line asked them to transfer their money into gift cards before paying the bill.
"They thought it was a bit off and weird that the government would ask for Home Depot gift cards," Chung said. "I guess that was one of the reasons they were suspicious."
He added that one of the intended victims had in fact been late in paying his taxes. When he got the call he was concerned until the suspect requested the unusual payment method.
Chung said on Monday that the suspects have become more specific in their requests and have even resorted to using coercive language and profanity when dealing with their victims.
The simplest way to prevent fraud and identity theft, according to the Coquitlam RCMP, is to follow one basic rule for personal records and document: If you don't need it, destroy it.
That is why police are inviting members of the public to bring their documents to a shred it event at the Coquitlam detachment (2986 Guildford Way) on March 29 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. ATM slips, credit card receipts, pay stubs and monthly utility bills are just some of the papers the police are encouraging people to bring down to the station to be shredded.
Only clean office paper will be accepted and there is no cost for the service.