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Banking and tax scams on the rise in the Okanagan

Scammers are calling into the Okanagan pretending to be with the Canada Revenue Agency and separating people from their hard-earned money.
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February 26, 2016 - 4:30 PM

KELOWNA – Two scams that have been making the rounds in the Okanagan are prompting police to issue a warning to the public.

The Kelowna RCMP say there has been a recent increase in the number of telephone scams being reported. The caller claims to be from the Canada Revenue Agency and uses forceful and aggressive language to scare residents into paying a fictitious debt.

The suspect often says taxes are owed and demands immediate payment by credit card. Occasionally they demand the victim purchase a prepaid credit card and phone back immediately or face court charges, jail or even deportation.

A media release from RCMP recommends you hang up immediately on any suspicious calls and report them to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre of the RCMP.

The Canada Revenue Agency will never request payment by prepaid credit cards, ask for information about your passport, health services card or driver’s licence or leave personal information on your answering machine or voice mail.

The Kelowna RCMP is also noting an increase in another scam where someone approaches people on the street and asks for help depositing a cheque using their debit card and bank account.

“The suspect has a variety of excuses why he cannot use his own bank account and briefly shows the victim what appears to be a cheque,” Const. Jesse O’Donaghey says in the release. “The suspect accompanies the victim to their bank and uses the ATM to deposit an empty envelope. The victim, believing a legitimate cheque was just deposited into his or her account, then allows the suspect to make a withdrawal for several hundred dollars. Once the bank discovers the deposit envelope is empty, the victim bank account is frozen and the victim is held accountable for the outstanding withdrawal.”

This scam can leave victims on the hook for hundreds of dollars and the RCMP remind residents to be cautious of strangers asking for help with deposits.

For more information on fraud prevention, visit the B.C. RCMP website or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at aproskiw@infonews.ca or call 250-718-0428. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
InfoTel News Ltd

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