A scammer swindled a Burnaby, B.C. woman out of $8,000 with a very strange request this week. She got a call from a man claiming to be with the Canada Revenue Agency, and he told her she’d be put in jail if she didn’t pay $8,000 in iTunes gift cards, Burnaby Now reported.
She bought 16 cards, each for $500, and gave the caller the activation codes over the phone.
The call came from a 613 Ottawa area code, RCMP said.
“It’s sad to say that people are taking advantage of other people’s goodwill,” RCMP Staff Sgt. Maj. John Buis told Burnaby Now.
Earlier in April, a Calgary woman was duped out of $20,000 in a similar scam involving iTunes gift cards the CBC reported.
And in Saskatchewan, more than 200 people complained to Battlefords RCMP that they were receiving phone calls from fake CRA representatives.
In Ontario, York Regional Police warned residents about the same scam.
Cops never arrest people over unpaid taxes and missing immigration forms, the force said on Twitter Wednesday. If a caller threatens arrest or says a family member will be held in jail until money is paid, it’s definitely a scam, they said. They also warn that the CRA doesn't ask for payment in the form of gift cards or pre-paid credit cards.
— York Regional Police (@YRP) April 27, 2016
The CRA also warns Canadians that they should check with the agency if they receive suspicious requests for information or money.
Also On HuffPost:
En route to their official destination, dodgy tuk-tuk or taxi drivers take travellers to stores where they are offered deals that are literally too good to be true. The so-called ‘Gem Scam’ can actually involve any high-priced or desirable item such as leather goods or “authentic” carpets. Victims soon discover their “jewels” may be nothing more than polished glass and those larger items, well, they never make it back home.
This can be anything from a child waving a newspaper in your face to an old woman needing assistance or a local helping you wipe a mess off your shirt. While you are distracted, a second crook comes in and swipes your stuff. The key to making it out with all your valuables intact is to pay careful attention to your belongings and others around you.
If, as a traveller, you find yourself being accused of a crime you didn’t commit, chances are you’re dealing with a counterfeit cop. For example, fake police might charge an over-the-top, on-the-spot fine for putting out a cigarette in public. Always check the officer’s ID and contact the real police if you have any doubts. Photo credit: Scott Davidson
These can take a variety of forms, but the basics involve a traveller, usually male, being approached by local women (sometimes a group of seemingly friendly men) who invite him for a round of drinks at a local bar. After a few beverages the locals are gone and the traveller is left with a ridiculously large bill!
Unfortunately for all the good ones, cab drivers have a bad rep for ripping off travellers, but they do have a lot of tricks associated with their profession. Some of the most common cons are inflating fares or telling passengers their selected hotel/bar/restaurant is closed, but never fear, they know a better one just down the road. Always travel in licensed cabs and, if possible, agree on a fixed fare. Also, insist on going to your original destination and see if it is actually closed for yourself.
They can pop up anywhere, but are most often found around New York City’s Times Square or on the Las Vegas Strip. CD bullies approach passers-by asking them to check out their music, handing over what appears to be a free copy of their CD. However, once the disc is in your hands, the aspiring superstar (often surrounded by friends) refuses to take it back and expects you to pay for the pleasure of listening to their unsigned gem. Try to ignore these guys, but if one of the ‘musicians’ does manage to get a CD in your hand and refuses to take it back, gently put it on the ground and walk away.
You’ve just arrived at an amazing site and are happily snapping away, trying to get that winning shot, when a local in costume or with an intriguing prop shows up and offers to pose for a photo. This person isn’t just doing this for a bit of fun. The costumed conman is after your cash. Once the photo has been taken he or she will demand a crazy amount of money from you. Even worse, if the person in costume has a partner who took the picture he might not return your camera until you’ve paid up big time. Photo credit: Adam Kahtava
All ideas of personal space are thrown out the window when riding a train crowded with people. You tend to ignore passengers bumping and knocking into you and it’s in this environment where you have to pay extra attention to your belongings – was that an accident or someone going for your wallet? The busy public transport networks of New York, Paris and London are particular hotspots, but light-fingered thieves can be found around the world. One particular scam is common in certain parts of Italy. Your train pulls into the station so you jump aboard; but there are a few minutes to wait until it is due to depart. In this time, dozens of what seem like passengers squeeze their way into the carriage, but just before the doors close and the train leaves the platform, they jump off taking the valuables of unsuspecting travellers with them.
When wandering through an exotic marketplace, you know there’s going to be haggling in store. However, what you might not know is that store keepers start working out how much to charge you from the moment you open your mouth. Almost every shop owner will start a conversation with ‘Where are you from?’ and you need to be careful with your answer. If you say something obvious like England, America or Australia, they will assume you have a lot of money and, as a result, will instantly push up the price of their stock. The best answer to give is something a little obscure such as the name of your city or suburb. This will throw off the seller and leave you to haggle on a level playing field. Photo credit: Tinou Bao
A charming person comes up to you offering directions or sightseeing advice when, suddenly, he or she ties a woven bracelet around your wrist in a double knot then demands payment. If you refuse, the scammer starts yelling that you’re stealing the bracelet. Victims are often so shaken by the experience that they end up paying the perpetrator. Be wary of overly friendly people offering services you neither want nor need and tell them to remove the bracelet before you call the police. Photo credit: PV KS