'Tax scam' sends victims to buy credit cards at Home Depot
At this time of year, Canadians have taxes on their minds – and that’s just what a new scam being felt in Waterloo Region is preying on.
Waterloo Regional Police say they’ve received two reports of residents receiving phone calls claiming to come from the Canada Revenue Agency.
The callers say the victims owe unpaid taxes and in order to repay them, should purchase prepaid Visa credit cards at Home Depot.
“It’s very intimidating,” says police spokesperson Olaf Heinzel.
“They make repeated calls and they threaten the person with arrest if they don’t act immediately.”
Victims of similar scams elsewhere in Canada have been directed to Safeway stores to purchase the credit cards, but in the two known local cases, the callers said the cards must be bought at a Home Depot location on Pinebush Road in Cambridge.
“Once that money is loaded onto these cards, (the victim must) provide the information back to the fraudster who then activates the cards, and then he’s able to remove the funds from that card,” says Heinzel.
The most recent reported local case occurred Monday, when a Cambridge woman was instructed to load nearly $2,800 onto the cards.
As she was buying the cards, she was cautioned by a Home Depot employee who had learned of the scam after it cost a man $1,300 at the same store, and did not complete her purchase.
Although only two cases of the scam have been reported by police, Home Depot employees say they’ve heard from multiple other customers who they believed have been victimized.