On a cautionary note, I would like to bring to your attention to three SCAMS that are designed to part you from your assets

The first serious scam is the telephone call purporting to be from Canada Revenue Agency, sternly claiming that you owe back taxes from a prior year. As each week goes by, I know that at least one of my clients or friends will receive such a call.

There may be reference to a CRA representative visiting your home, finding you were not there and demanding you send $2,500 to $4,500 to Canada Revenue Agency through the Money store in your neighbourhood. The funds are to be directed to a Western Union drop box.

The caller is very clear, if you act within 24 hours the RCMP will not come to your home and arrest you. As soon as you have completed the money transfer and you leave a message the funds have been transferred, the”CRA” caller will assure you that the RCMP will not come out and arrest you and put you in jail for income tax evasion.

The second interesting event is “Speedy Delivery” calls to make sure you are home. The delivery chap arrives at your door with a surprise gift from an unknown person. Usually the gift is flowers and a bottle of wine. Ask the chap and he only says he is the delivery man, source of the gift unknown.

Before he leaves, he requests a small sum, a delivery verification charge such as $3.50. Since the delivery includes alcohol he needs proof that it was delivered to an adult of legal drinking age. He cannot accept cash. The delivery funds must be paid with interact, VISA or MC. He pulls out his portable device, slides your card through and has you enter your PIN on the delivery device. Need I say more?!

The third, and this one I have had happen four times since August. Variations on this theme seem to work; a relative, usually a student, nephew, or close young relative, in this example, the son of one of my clients. The son was travelling in Eastern Europe. My client received a phone call supposedly from a hospital in Austria; the son had had an accident and was unconscious, and needed an immediate operation to save his life.

The caller requested $5,000 so the hospital would operate. She was told to send $5,000 immediately to cover medical expenses through Western Union to a drop box supposedly controlled by the hospital.

My client called last Minute Club, arranged a flight overnight to Austria, attended the hospital. Once there she found the hospital had no record of her son.

Three days later the father in Canada received a phone call from Greece. It was the son. Everything was OK, he had called to wish his mother, Happy Birthday!

Think for a moment, would Canada Revenue Agency use the Cash Store in your neighbourhood for collections?

Would a hospital in Austria not have their own banking arrangements?

Would you give a total stranger your card number and PIN at the door for $3.50?

Unfortunately all too many of these predators are becoming increasingly sophisticated in separating you from your money

The follow up to recover funds is usually impossible. The Peel Regional Police Force is sympathetic but there are too many complaints to follow.

You can buy a throw away Cel phone for under $50.00. I know of shops that unlock stolen and discarded cel phones for $10.00. A small price to pay for access to your credit and savings accounts.

Neil Mathieson