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FRAUD ALERT: Grandparent Scam and CRA Scam Re-Surfacing in Barrie

FRAUD ALERT: Grandparent Scam and CRA Scam Re-Surfacing in Barrie
October 22nd, 2018 - Police & the Community

Barrie Police have recently received calls from Barrie residents whom have fallen victim to or have received fraudulent calls using both the Emergency or Grandparent scam and Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) scams.

Please take a moment to speak to loved ones, especially those most vulnerable, to help educate them on these common scams. Education is the best way to prevent further victims of fraud. 

Caring grandparents, don't act too quickly!

Emergency frauds usually target loving grandparents, taking advantage of their emotions to rob them of their money.

The typical scam starts with a grandparent receiving a phone call from someone claiming to be their grandchild. The "grandchild" goes on to say they're in trouble—common misfortunes include having been in a car accident, getting locked up in jail, or trouble returning home from a foreign country—and they need money immediately. The caller will ask you questions, getting you to reveal personal information. They'll also swear you to secrecy, saying they are embarrassed and don't want other family members to find out what's happened.

One variation of this ploy features two people on the phone, one pretending to be a grandchild and the other a police officer or lawyer. In other cases, the scammer will pretend to be an old neighbour or a family friend in trouble.

Tips to protect yourself:

  1. Take time to verify the story. Scammers are counting on you wanting to quickly help your loved one in an emergency.
  2. Call the child's parents or friends to find out about their whereabouts.
  3. Ask the person on the phone questions that only your loved one would be able to answer and verify their identity before taking steps to help.
  4. Never send money to anyone you don't know and trust.
  5. Never give out any personal information to the caller.

Got a call or email from the CRA? Make sure it's real!

You get a text message or an email from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) claiming you're entitled to an extra refund and all you need to do is provide your banking details. Watch out—this wonderful-if-true situation is exactly what a tax scam looks like.

Another variation is that they call you to say that you owe the CRA money and that you need to pay right away, or else they will report you to the police.

In any case, if you do receive a call, letter, email or text saying you owe money to the CRA, you can double check online via "My Account" or call 1-800-959-8281.

Tips to protect yourself:

The CRA will never:

  1. use aggressive or threatening language.
  2. threaten you with arrest or send police.
  3. ask for payments via prepaid credit cards or gift cards, such as ITunes, Home Depot, etc.
  4. collect or distribute payments through Interac e-transfer.
  5. use text messages to communicate under any circumstances.

Emails from the CRA:

  1. never ask for financial information.
  2. never provide financial information.

The CRA's accepted payment methods are:

  • online banking.
  • debit card.
  • pre-authorized debit.

For more information on protecting yourself and your loved ones against these common scams and others, read through The Little Black Book of Scams from  the Government of Canada-Competition Bureau.  If you fall victim to a fraud such as the ones listed above, contact your local police service as well as the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. 

Prepared by: Constable N. Rodgers #6180