111 CRA tax scams were reported to EPS between January 1, 2017 to February 26, 2018. Seventy-nine victims of the reported incidents were contacted by phone. A total of $311,736.21 was lost in Edmonton with this scam - $243,134.00 specifically in Bitcoins.
The typical structure of this scam is as follows:
- Initial Phone Call – The caller tells the victim that he/she owes money for income taxes. If the victim does not answer the phone, the fraudster leaves a message urging the victim to call back to resolve the issue.
- Victim is Profiled by Fraudster – Once the victim is on the phone, the fraudster asks personal questions to build a profile. Based on the victim’s answers, the fraudster will structure the conversation to bully or persuade the victim into stating that he/she will pay the money owing.
The fraudster will say things like:
- If you don’t pay, you will be arrested and put in jail.
- If you don’t pay, your bank accounts will be frozen.
- If you don’t pay, your children will be taken away and you will not receive government-funded child payments.
If none of the above intimidation factors work, the victim usually refuses to pay and/or tells the fraudster he/she is calling the police or the CRA to verify the information before hanging up the phone. The fraudster will phone the victim back using a fake or “spoofed” phone number with the caller’s name displayed as either the police or the CRA.
If the fraudster chooses to impersonate the police, he/she will say:
- I was talking to the CRA and they said you won’t pay your taxes. We are sending a police car to arrest you right now unless you agree to pay your taxes.
- I was talking to the CRA and they said you won’t pay your taxes. We are sending a police car to take your children away unless you pay your taxes.
If the fraudster chooses to impersonate the CRA, he/she will say:
Victim Agrees to Pay Money – If the victim agrees to pay the money, the fraudster will demand
- I was speaking with the Attorney General and if you don’t pay your taxes you will have to pay more and a warrant will be issued for your arrest.
Victim is Defrauded of Money – His/her phone numbers (both cellphone and land line) will be shared with other fraudsters who will call and try to get money from them.
- The victim stays on the phone the entire time (with the fraudster) and doesn’t hang up or else the fraudster will return to threats.
- The victim is told to ignore everyone who tells him/her to hang up as they are lying and don’t understand what will happen if the money isn’t paid. The fraudster does everything to isolate the victim from everyone.
- The fraudster will give the addresses and specific locations where the victim is to go to purchase the payment.
- The victim is given directions on how to get the payment to the fraudster.
- The fraudster will ask for money until the victim doesn’t have any more money to give, can’t get any more money from anyone else, or the victim figures out it is a scam and hangs up.