Beware of tax scams say RCMP

Tax time is a favourite of scammers, and police are warning Cowichan Valley residents to be careful this year.

"Tax season is here, which brings out a few individuals willing to take your money without earning it," said spokesperson Cpl. Krista Hobday. The North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP are receiving complaints from taxpayers stating they are receiving emails and letters from persons unknown claiming to represent Revenue Canada."

Hobday shared one scam that has been reported to the local detachment in which the taxpayer receives an email purporting to be from Revenue Canada, with a hefty refund available.

"We identified an error in the calculation of your tax from the last payment, amounting to a 804,49$," the email reads. "In order for us to return the excess payment, you need to create a Tax Gateway account after which the funds will be credited to your specified bank account."

Instructions on how to set up an account follow.

Police advise the public to delete messages such as that one without responding.

"If you are unsure if it is legitimate, call the nearest Revenue Canada office for verification," Hobday said.

Scams and frauds can also be reported to Equifax at 1-800-465-7166 or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.

Carol-Ann Rolls of Cowichan Community Policing also warned of a phone scam in which callers say they are collecting taxes for Revenue Canada, and instruct victims to pay them with a money order or gift card. Again, anyone contacted by the scammers should get in touch with Revenue Canada for clarification.