Even though the holiday season is in full swing, the RCMP are tackling a decidedly un-festive problem: scam phone calls telling people that they owe back taxes. The tricksters say that if the tax-evaders don't pay up immediately, they'll be sent to jail.

"That's a very popular one," said RCMP Cpl. Steve Lloyd. "Generally, these [phone calls] are coming from far away. What we're seeing here is people saying that there will be warrants issued for their arrests if they don't pay, and that's simply not true."

If you owe back taxes, the Canada Revenue Agency will work with you to create an affordable payment plan.

"They're very upfront and you won't get those calls from Canada Revenue saying 'you must pay right now or else,' there's always steps you can take," explained Lloyd. "You always have that time."

Lloyd wanted to stress that the Canada Revenue Agency does not work that way. If you do receive a call, you should verify the information before making the payment.

"If anybody ever has any questions or concerns, I would recommend that, before they make any payment arrangement, to call Canada Revenue themselves and verify the information they've got and not just to act on the information they receive from a phone call."

As always, do not send money or provide personal information to anyone who calls you, regardless of what they promise.

Questions, comments or story ideas? Email us at [email protected]

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