Canadians are in a taxing situation when it comes to telephone fraudsters — and a Toronto MPP wants federal and provincial authorities to do something about it.
Police forces have issued warnings about scammers who pose as Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) investigators. Fraudsters call prospective victims, insisting they owe tax money and can settle debts by such means as using iTunes gift cards.
Liberal MPP Mike Colle said public bulletins don’t seem be a deterrent. He’s pushing for the RCMP and OPP to join forces in an effort to track down the fraudsters.
“It doesn’t stop,” Colle said. “Even my own office has gotten over 50 calls from these criminals. The usual warnings that the RCMP are putting out aren’t working.
“These people are continuing to frighten people and I’m sure they’re making all kinds of money from people who are scared to death they haven’t paid their taxes.”
Colle said he has arranged a meeting with provincial Government and Consumer Services Minister Marie-France Lalonde and Eglinton-Lawrence MP Marco Mendicino on Tuesday to discuss his idea.
He also wants the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), big media companies such as Rogers and Bell, and the CRA to get involved.
“What we need to do is have the key players sit down and figure out how we stop this,” Colle said.
The OPP and RCMP could not be reached for comment.
The CRA said it never asks people to pay by prepaid credit cards or gift cards. Those who are in the red can use online banking, debit cards or pre-authorized debit. People who owe the taxman first receive a reassessment and then a letter in the mail.
“The CRA has noted an increase in telephone scams where the caller claims to be from the CRA but is not, and we’ve encouraged Canadians to beware. When the CRA receive calls or correspondence regarding scams, we ask the public to contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by going to their website (antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca) … or by calling the toll-free number at 1-888-495-8501,” spokesman Lisa Damien said.