Beware the next time you pick up the phone. Tax filing deadline may be over, but the Canada Revenue Agency phone scam is still making the rounds. A North Vancouver woman became a victim, handing over thousands of dollars.

Melissa Del Fabro responded to a threatening message indicating that she owed money to the CRA. She says that the man demanded payment, telling her that if she didn’t comply she’d be sent to jail and her kids would be taken away. In a panic, she bought $3,000 in iTunes gift cards, just as she was asked, and handed more than $1,600 worth of activation codes to the scammer before her husband picked up the phone. 

“I said to him, ‘I’ve contacted the proper authorities. You’re being investigated for fraud and if you call again you’re going to be dealt with by police,’" said her husband Martin Czamek. North Vancouver RCMP received their complaint and told CTV News that although they don’t track the number of complaints, they have been hearing from people who have fallen victim to this scam.

“It concerns us because that means there’s a segment of the population that thinks that that’s how our system works,” said RCMP Corporal Richard De Jong. 

In April, a Calgary woman handed more than $20,000 worth of iTunes cards in a similar scheme, providing the activation codes before police got involved. 

Law enforcement officials believe that the scammers play on people’s fear. In Del Fabro’s case, this was done through threatening her children. In other situations, new immigrants to Canada may fall prey because they aren’t sure how the system works here. The elderly can also be vulnerable. 

Del Fabro says she feels embarrassed about it all but wants to tell her story so that others don’t get caught.

If you receive a suspicious call, email, text, or letter from someone stating they are from the CRA, you should contact the CRA directly to confirm the information. 

Click here for more information about how to protect yourself.