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Escape the scam: CRA introduces innovative kiosk to raise awareness

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The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) unveiled a kiosk at Mic Mac Mall in Dartmouth, N.S., with an escape room theme, aiming to educate the public about the various types of scams targeting Canadians.

“People like to learn by being more hands-on so we’ve set up an interactive experience at the mall. It basically puts people in real-life scenarios and they have to try and determine if something is a scam or if it’s real CRA communications and trying to determine if it’s a scam or not,” explained CRA spokesperson, Jeffery Lansing.

Located on one end of the mall is an eye-catching caution sign, and beside it is a yellow and green cube, grabbing the attention of shoppers.

Inside the cube are three rooms where participants encounter real-life scam scenarios amid day-to-day distractions, and they have less than 10 minutes to figure it out.

Jenna Bartlett and Kyle McIasce were shopping at the mall when they came across the kiosk and decided to give it a shot.

“It was stressful for a minute,” said McIasce.

The outside of a CRA kiosk is seen on April 19, 2024. (Hafsa Arif/CTV Atlantic)

Bartlett said the experience felt very real. “It simulated real life so everything happens at once. You were getting phone calls, you have to make decisions and then we found out there’s a time limit.”

According to the CRA between 2019 and 2023, the reported losses to fraud have skyrocketed, costing Canadians nearly half a billion dollars. However, the costs are believed to be much more because many do not report when they have been scammed.

“Seniors and a lot of newcomers to Canada may not know what to expect from the Canada Revenue Agency,” said Lansing. “They are likely to fall victim.

Next week, the escape room kiosk will travel to Ontario followed by British Columbia.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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