An elderly Nanaimo man lost $1,500 in a variation of the Canada Revenue Agency scam. NEWS BULLETIN FILE

Nanaimo senior loses $1,500 in telephone scam

Nanaimo RCMP report 145 complaints of attempted Canada Revenue Agency scam

If it weren’t for a vigilant store clerk, an elderly Nanaimo man might have lost more than the $1,500 he was bilked out of by a variation of the Canada Revenue Agency scam.

According to Nanaimo RCMP, call-takers were inundated with 145 complaints of attempted telephone fraud from Monday morning to Tuesday afternoon. One 81-year-old Nanaimo man fell victim to one of those attempts and lost $1,500 when two people, who claimed to be government representatives over the phone, demanded payment for a phoney tax debt.

The victim complied with their request to attend a store and buy iTunes gift cards and provided the activation numbers to the scam artists who went on to demanded an additional $3,500 in iTunes cards and told the victim if he went to a police station he would be arrested. Fortunately a store clerk questioned the transaction and called police.

“Thanks to the vigilance of a store clerk, the victim was protected from further loss,” said Const. Derek Balderston, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, in a press release. “It is quite clear scammers are actively targeting residents of Nanaimo with variations of the Canada Revenue Agency scam. Awareness for yourself and others is the best defence for this type of crime.”

The CRA will never ask for personal information of any kind by e-mail or text message or demand payment via money service business, prepaid credit card or iTunes gift cards.

Anyone who receives a phone call or e-mail from someone claiming to represent the CRA should assume the caller is perpetrating a scam. People who have been tricked into providing personal information or money should contact the police and also report the incident to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at http://bit.ly/1S7XGRH.

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre does not conduct investigations, but assists law enforcement agencies worldwide by identifying connections among seemingly unrelated cases.

People can also confirm they owe taxes and learn more about fraud by contacting the CRA.

Anyone who has shared personal information or banking information should contact Equifax, TransUnion and their banking institutions to place fraud alerts on their accounts.