Contact is made by way of an email, text message or phone call from a ‘CRA agent’ and typically follows the following pattern:
- Money is owed for current or back taxes and an arrest warrant has been issued;
- If they pay the amount owing and don’t tell anyone about the phone call they will not get arrested;
- Directed to attend a specific store or a type of business and either purchase a gift card or e-Transfer the money;
- Directed to attend a specific Bitcoin ATM and deposit the money to a specific ‘wallet’;
- If they don’t comply they are told that they will have the police arrest them;
- In some instances of non-compliance they have another fraudster call the victim and pretend to be a police officer and tell the victim that they will come arrest them if the victim does not comply with the ‘CRA agent’ and send the money.
- Victim is kept on the phone at all times and told not to hang up or the police will come arrest them.
- The actual phone number is spoofed to read the Edmonton Police Service, the Edmonton Police Service complaint line number, Canada Revenue Agency or the phone number for Canada Revenue Agency.
Intimidation tactics used by both male and female callers with males typically having an East Indian or Middle Eastern accent:
- Claim to be an officer; gave badge # and account numbers for CRA
- Lawyers fees; lawsuit fees; closing costs
- Demanded victim’s living in communities surrounding Edmonton book off work and go to bitcoin machines in Edmonton
- Told victim they were liable for a $95,000 fine and 6 years imprisonment unless they corrected the issue today (paid fine)
- Intimidate with threats of losing bank accounts, investments and having income garnishing.
- CRA agent would attend residence in the next few days to provide tax return tips to prevent this from occurring again, as well as a receipt for the money paid today.
- Threaten with arrest by RCMP
- Tell victim to check with the police then they call back with the phone number spoofed to show a call from caller ID *911* or the EPS Complaint line stating that it was the police and they need to do as told otherwise they would be arrested.
- Continual callbacks stating additional costs as long as they were paying.
- State throughout the process that the call was being recorded for court processes.
- Claim that the conversation was being recorded and connected to police.
Tips from the CRA
The Canada Revenue Agency suggests citizens actively monitor their online CRA accounts for suspicious activity. “To protect yourself against identity theft, you can now sign up for Email Notifications in your online CRA account,” explained TJ Madigan, Communications Manager for the Canada Revenue Agency. “This will trigger an automatic alert if any major changes are made to your file, including notifications if your mailing address is updated or if someone modifies your direct deposit information for refunds and credits.”
- Always be careful when you receive unexpected contact from the CRA. Fraudsters are constantly coming up with new scams to try steal your money and your identity -- and they can even fake their caller ID to pretend the call is coming from the government or the police!
- There are ways to outsmart the scammers and protect yourself. Here are some tricks the scammers often use -- but the CRA won’t! Any of these three actions is a tell-tale sign you’re talking to a scammer.
- The CRA will never:
- pressure you to make an immediate payment.
- threaten to arrest you, deport you, or send the police.
- use aggressive or threatening language with you.
- If you're ever unsure whether you're talking to the real CRA, end the conversation! Instead, you can immediately contact the CRA using our publicly-available phone numbers or investigate the situation using your online CRA account. We will never penalize you for ensuring you’re speaking to the real CRA.
- The CRA doesn’t text! If you receive a text message claiming to be from the CRA, it’s not from the CRA.
- The CRA won’t send any financial information over email, so if a message shows up in your inbox containing the exact amount of your tax refund or claiming you owe a specific dollar amount, you can be sure it’s a scam. Ignore and delete!
- If you’re concerned that your tax slips may have been stolen, you should monitor your online Canada Revenue Agency account for suspicious activity.
- To protect yourself against identity theft, you can now sign up for Email Notifications in your online CRA account. This will trigger an automatic alert if any major changes are made to your file, including notifications if your mailing address is updated or if someone modifies your direct deposit information for refunds and credits.
- You can also call the CRA at 1800-959-8281 to confirm any recent activity or investigate changes to your file.
- If you’re missing T4s or other tax slips, you can generally find copies of them in your online CRA account. Alternatively, you can order duplicate copies by calling the CRA.
- If you believe that someone has used your information to file a false tax return in your name, immediately contact the CRA and notify the police.