Canada Revenue Agency Phone Scam Emerges in Victoria

29 August 2015

Most of the more common cases of phone fraud occur when fraudsters attempt to take advantage of their victim’s sympathetic or caring nature in order to aggressively manipulate them into providing their credit card information over the phone.

The Victoria Police Department (VicPD) states that some of the more common scams are the “sweetheart/romance scam,” where predators gain the trust of their victim through an online relationship, eventually convincing them to send them money or their credit card information, and the “grandchild scam,” where someone will pretend to be an elderly individual’s grandchild, begging for money because they are hurt or in need.

Check News reports that there have been a growing number of reports to the VicPD 911 Communications Centre recently, of people turning themselves in to police custody, convinced that they are guilty of not paying their taxes in Victoria. This is known as the “Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) scam,” where victims have answered their phones to an angry caller claiming to be from the CRA.

Instead of gaining their victim’s trust, these scammers are threateningly and aggressively demanding that the individual make a credit card payment over the phone immediately or they will be faced with fines and potentially arrested due to their their unpaid taxes. Some callers have even told their victims that there was already a pending warrant for their arrest.

As a result, some elderly individuals have made their way to police headquarters, visibly upset, ready to turn themselves in for their “crimes.” In an effort to help citizens better identity this scam, the CRA posted a recording of such a scam, which can be found here.

The VicPD created an informative post about common frauds that can be found here as well. On the website, they state that many individuals do not report these frauds, but encouraged individuals to call their non-emergency line in the event that it occurs to them.

“Often, it is because they feel ashamed; they feel as though they should have known better,” VicPD writes. “For those who have fallen victim to an online romance fraud, the emotional trauma and sense of betrayal is even greater. There is no shame in falling victim to a fraud. Fraudsters are experts at manipulating the best parts of people for their own personal gain.”

VicPD stated that a reputable government agency would never threaten its citizens regarding unpaid taxes over the phone and will not demand that they make a credit card payment over the phone. They asked that if anyone should still receive calls from someone claiming to be the CRA, immediately hang up and call 1-800-959-8281 to verify this information, because it may be fraudulent.

“It’s frankly heartbreaking to see, innocent, good people needlessly traumatized by these scammers,” VicPD Financial Crimes Detective Sergeant Derek Tolmie said. “It’s frustrating and needless. The best thing people can do is learn to recognize these scams and to talk to their loved ones about them.”

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