March is Fraud Prevention Month. Every year, thousands of Canadians fall victim to fraud and the Winnipeg Police Service wants to remind the public to watch out for a common spike in extortion scams during tax time.
In 2020 alone, Manitobans lost over $4.3 million to mass market scams. And of that $4.3 million, $1.9 million was lost due to extortion scams.
One of the most common schemes going around revolves around attempting to extort a potential victim.
The scam involves a call to your telephone/cellphone claiming to be a government official. They then claim that there is a problem with your social insurance number and that you may get arrested if you don’t comply with their demands.
Remember, you will never receive a phone call from the police or government agencies threating arrest.
RULE OF THUMB: If you’re suspicious of the caller… hang up immediately. Use Google or other resources to look up the official phone number of the agency that the caller claimed to be. From there you can confirm if the call was legitimate.
If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from Canada Revenue Agency that feels suspicious, hang up and call them directly using one of the official contact methods listed at https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/corporate/contact-information.html.
Stay safe Winnipeg!