NANAIMO — Scammers claiming to be collecting back taxes for the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) have their sights squarely focused on Nanaimo right now, according to Mounties.
Nanaimo RCMP Cst. Derek Balderston said their detachment received about 200 complaints between Monday morning and Tuesday afternoon from people who had been harassed over the phone. He said considering many people don't report issues like this to Mounties, it's safe to assume many more people got a similar call.
"There is a pattern here in Nanaimo where we will receive a focused or concentrated number of calls over a period of time," Balderston told NanaimoNewsNOW. "What's really quite clear is these scammers are actively targetting residents in Nanaimo."
Balderston said the callers claim to be with the CRA and demand payment for a tax debt. "It's been reported to us that they're using very aggressive tactics, threatening language, threats of arrest and imprisonment."
In this version of the well-known CRA scam, the victim is told to buy iTunes gift cards to cover the debt.
An 81-year-old Nanaimo man was duped out of $1,500, according to Balderston. Had it not been for a store clerk stopping the man from making a second purchase of gift cards he would have lost even more money.
Variations of the CRA scam have surfaced numerous times over the last few years around the mid-island, including as recently as May in Parksville.
Balderston said if you get a call like this and don't give the scammers any personal information or money, you can contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. If you did give up information or money, report the issue to Mounties.
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