By Matthew McCully
With the holiday season approaching, scam artists are taking advantage of the likelihood that online shoppers have packages in the mail coming from the U.S.
A new, and rather convincing phone scam is currently reaching phones in the Townships. The Canada Border Services (CBSA) is reminding locals that it never initiates a request for social insurance number and credit card number by telephone or email. “If an individual receives a telephone call or an email asking for this information, or requesting payments from the CBSA, it is a scam,” a CBSA spokesperson explained to The Record.
This reporter had the misfortune of receiving a distressing phone call on Wednesday. The automated call explained that a package addressed to yours truly was being held at the border containing illegal goods. The message went on to say a warrant was placed for arrest, and to speak to a CBSA agent to rectify the situation, I should press 1.
Curious about what would happen, I pressed one, and was connected to someone who said, “Canada Border Services Agency, how can I help you?”
After explaining what the automated message had said about the illegal package and the arrest warrant, the “agent” replied, “OK, let me check your file, what’s your name and address?”
With no packages currently on order, the reply given was a dial tone, but anyone with items in the mail or who frequently orders online may take the bait.
According to the media rep, the CBSA may call recipients/importers to clarify package declaration details; however, if the agency said that if anyone receives a call saying they must pay duty and taxes on a package that the CBSA is holding and threatens penalties, including jail time, beware that this is a scam.
“Canada Post is responsible for collecting duties and taxes prior to a mail item being delivered to the recipient,” the spokesperson explained.
In some cases, these scams use false CBSA identifiers such as telephone display numbers and CBSA employee names, or CBSA logos on websites or in emails.
The CBSA encourages anyone receiving fraudulent calls to report them to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.