While scam artists are getting smarter in their deceptions, people are growing wiser in this cat and mouse game. But sadly new victims keep piling up.

Regardless of the increased awareness and head-shaking stories around the dinner table, many people continue to fall prey to fraudsters who don’t have a conscience. These individuals, who are still arguably human . . . to a degree, probably sleep well at night after parting a senior from his or her pension, using the grandson-in-trouble ruse or countless other tricks.

Now that it’s tax time, you can expect the ubiquitous Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) scams to rear their ugly heads.

It was brought to the Pioneer’s attention that one taxpayer received a beguiling text message from the CRA that read: Canada Revenue Agency sent you $1,000 (CAD) – deposit with your link (via Interac e-transfer). Wow! $1,000 . . . great! But the CRA never sends or requests e-transfers of any kind; it only sends payments by direct deposit or cheque in the mail. Other CRA scams include notifications that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of $788. “Due to the high volume of tax refund payments, you must complete the online application, the telephone help line is very busy at the moment . . .” The examples go on and on like grandpa’s post-war tales. 

To verify anything with CRA and to learn about the latest scams, visit canada.ca.

Back to this taxpayer who received the text message: less than 20 minutes later she was contacted by BC Hydro to update her information. “It sounded so real right to the end of the conversation,” she said.

“Not only did I then have to call and cancel my credit card but they would have drained my account if I had not realized something was wrong.” 

The red flag occurred when the fellow said she would receive a $50 rebate for choosing BC Hydro. 

March is Fraud Prevention Month. Think you’re smart when it comes to fraud? Take the Government of Canada’s quiz at https://ised-isde.canada.ca/site/competition-bureau-canada/en/fraud-and-scams/test-your-knowledge-fraud

Don’t fall for extortion scams where a so-called government agency says that a recent audit shows that you owe them money. 

Be wary of romance scams, too; suddenly being asked for money should be a red flag. And door-to-door scams? Don’t sign anything or allow anyone to inspect your HVAC system.

The Better Business Bureau also warns people to be cautious when it comes to online purchase scams, which have duped many individuals. The police always warn that if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. This is the new motto to live by, unfortunately. 

Lyonel Doherty, editor