The CRA scam has been circulating for years. (Black Press file photo)

‘It just felt wrong’: Good Samaritan saves B.C. senior from gift card CRA scam

Woman sees elderly gentleman counting a big stack of pre-paid cards and warns store staff

A Chilliwack woman says she knew the older gentleman in the store lineup was being scammed.

Suzi Peterson says she spotted the man counting out a big handful of pre-paid gift cards at the local Walmart on Monday.

“It just felt wrong,” Peterson said.

It wasn’t just one or two gift cards, maybe destined for his grandkids. It was a huge stack of $50 cards. But she didn’t want to scare him by approaching him directly so she had a discreet word with one of the store staff, who took the matter to a manager.

“I notified staff to make sure he wasn’t being scammed, and sure enough he was,” Peterson posted on Facebook.

The comments and reactions to her public post on social media were very positive.

“Thank you for noticing and saying something,” said one person.

”Well done,” chimed in another. “My in-laws were burned too.”

“Thank you for caring enough,” said a poster.

The long-running CRA scam often sees vulnerable seniors being preyed upon by con artists who tell them they’re being investigated for unpaid taxes and their assets will be seized. The fraudsters often threaten them until they agree to send pre-paid cards to erase an imaginary outstanding debt with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Peterson was adamant about not letting this man be taken in by unscrupulous criminals.

The staff member asked him casually why he was buying the cards, and he said it was for the CRA.

“I just knew something was wrong! The staff was very good about it, and they told him it was a scam,” she recounted.

The man still ended up buying one card, but put the rest back.

Peterson says she knew there was something up because they had tried out the same scam on her six months ago, and she told the CRA impersonators to “pound sand” when they said police would soon be at her door.

“I can’t believe this scam is still happening,” Peterson said.

“It was so prevalent for years, but many people still need to become aware that the scam is still out there. Tell your neighbours and don’t let our seniors become victims,” she wrote on Facebook.

In fact, the CRA never demands prepaid cards or banking details. If people get swindled, they should report it to RCMP.

“Please make your parents, grandparents, older friends, aunts, uncles, any senior you are acquainted with, aware that this is a scam,” she said, “Please tell someone if they get a call asking them to purchase anything at all to ignore it.”

For more information about frauds and scams check out The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre

READ MORE: CRA scam hit Chilliwack

READ MORE: It’s an old scam circulating again


@CHWKjourno
jfeinberg@theprogress.com

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