THUNDER BAY – Online and telephone scammers are not taking a break over the COVID-19 situation. In fact, it is very likely these fraudsters are likely to boost their efforts to target you and your money – they will count on you being more stressed and will try to use that against you and your family.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Greater Toronto Area Financial Crime Unit would like to further warn the public of the ongoing Telephone /Cyber fraud perpetrated by scammers claiming to be Canada Revenue Agency employees.
The following is a realistic portrayal of a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) scam that has been seen by RCMP investigators. This approach is one of many used by fraudsters.
Imagine your 65-year old mother is sitting at her breakfast table, she lives alone in Milton, Ontario, and is simply enjoying her breakfast when the phone rings…a call from the 613 area code (Ottawa):
CRA Scammer: Mrs. Smith? Mrs. Smith: Yes, who is this?
CRA Scammer: This is David Jones of the Canadian Revenue Agency. You owe money on your taxes going back 7 years.
Mrs. Smith: I don’t understand how that could be, I pay my taxes every year, I am a good person. I did not get any form of notification. Can you please tell me again what is wrong? I can barely understand what you are saying due to your very strong accent.
CRA Scammer: Do not play games with me, you owe the CRA $9,000. We sent you a notification in the mail two months ago. As you never responded, we are going to have you arrested, we have a warrant for your arrest.
Mrs. Smith: This must be a mistake, I will call my daughter, and she will help clear this up.
CRA Scammer: (Now very agitated and yelling) NO!… you will call no one! You will tell no one! You are in a great deal of trouble and if you tell your daughter, she will be in trouble as well. You must pay the $9,000 now, or you will go directly to jail. Listen to my instructions, otherwise, we will have an RCMP agent at your house to arrest you, DO YOU UNDERSTAND?
Mrs. Smith: Yes.
CRA Scammer: Get your SIN card, your driver’s license, your bank cards, and your cell phone, now, what is your cell number?
Mrs. Smith: I do not have a cell phone; can I call my daughter?
CRA Scammer: No! don’t call anyone, especially your daughter as she will be upset with you and you must deal with this now or you will be arrested.
CRA Scammer: You need to go to your bank right now and withdraw $9,000 from your account.
“Mrs. Smith” went to her bank and withdrew the money. She told the teller that it was for some home renovations. Mrs. Smith returned home and was then told by the CRA Scammer to send the cash to a specific address. The CRA Scammer told Mrs. Smith to get a book or magazine, put money between the pages and secure the edges with tape. The book or magazine was to be wrapped in layers of newspaper and /or tin foil and then placed in a box or envelope. The package was to be sent via courier to a specified recipient at a Canadian address. Mrs. Smith complied and sent the cash as directed.
A few days later, Mrs. Smith received a call from the CRA Scammer to tell her that her payment had not been received and because it was late, she now owes $5,000 more. Mrs. Smith is told to go to her bank again and withdraw the $5,000. Fortunately, at the time of the call, Mrs. Smith’s daughter was present and knew that it was a scam and assisted her mother, preventing her from sending any more money to the CRA Scammer.
This fraud is being perpetuated from coast-to-coast in Canada, and it has impacted victims from many different age groups and cultural backgrounds. The elderly are one of the many groups who are being targeted by these scammers. If you are reading this, we ask you to do your part in sharing this message to everyone and educating the seniors and family members in your life against this type of fraud.
Throughout March 2020, Fraud Prevention month in Canada, we will be posting questions related to this media advisory on our @RCMPONT Twitter account and on our Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Ontario Facebook page, www.facebook.com/rcmp.ontario. Test your skills, and respond with the correct answer.
Please join in the discussion and help to raise awareness of this type of fraud.
If you or a family member has fallen victim to this fraud, please report to your local police service, or someone you trust, as well as the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC). You have two ways to make a report to the CAFC; either by phone at 1-888-495-8501 (9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time) or through their online reporting tool at http://www.antifraudcentre- centreantifraude.ca/reportincident-signalerincident/index-eng.htm