A scam in which residents are threatened with criminal proceedings for unpaid tax bills has ramped up – again – in White Rock, prompting police to change their tact on how the files are being dealt with.
Sgt. Joel Glen said the volume of reports received in recent weeks marks the “worst wave yet” in the city.
“We’re getting hammered again,” Glen said last week.
“We’re getting daily, multiple calls.”
The scam involves callers identifying themselves as Revenue Canada officials, and threatening criminal proceedings or “legal consequences” if the victim does not act quickly.
While in previous waves the callers have been asking for personal and/or banking information, Glen said a focus this time has been on getting victims to buy Wal-Mart gift cards.
One elderly target came to the detachment after he was convinced to buy “several thousand dollars worth” of gift cards, Glen said.
“He didn’t feel right about it,” Glen said, noting he believes police have been able to “circumvent” the loss.
Glen said due to the volume, police are now dealing with the attempt-fraud reports by phone only.
“The drain on resources is significant and the perpetrators appear to be from other places, which doesn’t make it reasonable to enter into investigation for each one of these,” he said.
“Just tracking these people down would require huge resources.”
Anyone targeted by such a scam should report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre – www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca, or toll-free at 1-888-495-8501.