Police warn public to be wary of phone scams

No, you can’t pay back taxes with iTunes gift cards

Whitehorse RCMP is renewing its call for the public to remain wary of scammers posing as authority figures over the phone after three separate incidents that cost victims more than $40,000.

According to a police press release, in one incident, two “elderly individuals” believed they had purchased a computer program online but never received it. The “company” contacted them and said they would be reimbursed, but instead, “hacked” one of their bank accounts and moved money around. The company then called again saying too much money had been reimbursed and requested the person use the money to buy iTunes gift cards and provide the activation codes to the company. The individual was scammed of $30,000.

In another incident, a person got a call from someone claiming to be with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The caller said the person owed taxes and demanded she pay what she owed by buying iTunes gift cards and giving the caller the activation codes. The person was scammed of more than $10,000.

The third incident involved a scammer contacting a photographer and requesting her services, and then sending her a cheque for too much money. The scammer asked the photographer to send the excess amount to a bank account, but the photographer realized something was wrong and contacted police.

Police are reminding the public to look out for signs of “fishy” phone calls, which include the caller trying to “stress you out” with demands for immediate action and threats, and callers impersonating the CRA, police or other authorities. The police do not collect money for the CRA, the press release says, and also do not make arrests by phone.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

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