Yesterday In the early afternoon the phone rang, Call display showed it to be a long distance call originating from Ottawa, the capital of Canada. I answered the phone and this is what I heard on the recorded call.”There is a warrant out for your arrest by the Federal government for income tax invasion please call this number immediately. Thank you, have a good day and God Bless.” How could anybody have a nice day after hearing that message? l knew this had to be a scam. As a matter of fact I.had received a similar phone message a few weeks ago and just ignored it..This time however,I decided to be a responsible citizen and report this scam. I called the Federal government and I was given the number to the anti fraud department.I dialed and when the call was answered I told my tale of woe.
The gentleman on the other end verified my name and address and told me to have a nice day and God Bless. My stomach dropped, and my heart started beating rapidly and my knees were shaking. This was the voice of my ,who I believed to be scammer. How could this be? The voice continued and informed me that there was $1876 owing for 2009 income tax and if it was not paid within 45 minutes I would be under arrest. I was told a policeman was on his way and would be knocking on my door to take me to jail, if I didn’t follow these simple directions. I was instructed to pay electronically. I protested and said I couldn’t do that. He said my other alternative was to pay at the bank of Nova Scotia quickly. This was surreal . Canada isn’t a third world country. Was I having a night mare ? Was I losing my mind ? I felt like I was playing the leading role in an Alfred Hitchcock movie.
I pleaded for an extra couple of hours to give me time to consult with my accountant and family. I told him I was sure an error had been made and to the best of my knowledge nothing was owed. I was told I had ignored previous warnings and that I must pay within forty Five minutes or be thrown in jail. He told me if I didn’t comply I should hire a lawyer because I would need one.
I wasn’t afraid of going to jail. it would be a new experience and it would make great material for a blog. However I couldn’t bear the the thought of my neighbours in my condo complex looking on as I was dragged through the halls kicking and screaming. The thought also crossed my mind that the building has excellent security and the staff are very protective of the people living here and wouldn’t let me be dragged away.
I was told time was running out. I answered that this was ridiculous and even though my hands were shaking I managed to hang up the phone. I didn’t pay anything. The police never showed up and I didn’t go to jail. With the help of others I did some investigating and was assured I didn’t owe income tax for 2009. The long distance number was an unassigned number. How the scammer managed to acquire this number is a mystery. When we later dialled it the phone rang continuously but there was no answer.
Other questions haunted me . How was the Federal government involved? Was the government or someone in the government involved in the scam? I thought it was more likely that the scammer had bugged my phone and was able to intercept my calls. This upset and frightened me. Then another thought trickled into my head, Was it possible that I had mistakenly called Mr. chillingly polite instead of the government anti fraud department. Both numbers were written on the same piece of paper and If any of you have read my blog or book you will see that I tend to be a little absent minded.
I had the need to know. Occasionally I have a good idea. I called my phone server. The representative was most helpful and was able to confirm that I had indeed made a long distance call to the scammer– and I was charged for it. She reversed the charge. I also took advantage to consult with her regarding my long distance plan and she modified it to reduce the monthly cost. All was not lost.
Hopefully I will not be bothered with any more scams. I learned a couple of lessons to pass on. Hang up immediately if you suspect a scan. Better yet if you have call display, don’t answer the phone unless you know the caller. Most important pay attention to the number you are dialling and insure that it is directed to where it is intended to go. Had I followed this advice I would have saved myself a lot of anguish. I feel a little foolish.