When Birds Landing resident David Coleman opened his email on June 9, he wasn’t expecting to get a message from Canada Revenue Agency concerning a tax refund.
Taking a closer look at the message, he realized something didn’t feel right.
“They wanted me to go onto this link to receive a refund on my income tax, but in order to do that, I had to have my credit card ready. As soon as I saw the words ‘credit card,’ I thought ‘This has got to be a scam.’”
Curious, he went to the Canada Revenue Agency website, and searched scams. Several topics came up, including phone, letter, and email scams. Sure enough, when he looked under email scams he found one with the exact wording of the message he received.
This isn’t the first time Coleman has been the target of a bogus letter or phone call. In fact, the day he was interviewed, his wife got a call saying there was an arrest warrant for her over unpaid back taxes. He said they get phone calls like that about twice a week.
The Colemans aren’t the only ones being bothered.
In the last six months, Nakusp RCMP have received many calls about potential scams. They say there are various clues to tell if a notification is authentic.
“Usually if they’re asking for any banking information, credit card information [they aren’t real],” said Cst. Chris Carruthers. “If you’re getting something in writing that you think is a scam, another way to check is there will be spelling mistakes throughout the document, or you might have a random letter within a word that is capitalized. Those are clues to say this isn’t a formal, legitimate letter.”
One of the more vulnerable groups to be affected by scams are the elderly, but Carruthers said anyone can fall victim.
“The biggest thing the RCMP wants to relate to the general public when it comes to these scams is at any given time, if a red flag pops up in the back of your mind, or you feel that maybe something isn’t legit about it, contact us,” he said. “We can point you in the right direction one way or another, and don’t just go handing out banking information, because that can lead to a whole other realm of issues.”