Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) SCAM
As the first day of fall ushers in crisp, cool air and clear blue skies, many people look forward to a peaceful evening after a busy day. However, for some, the tranquillity is disrupted by the unsettling realization that they have fallen victim to scams, particularly one that has plagued Canadians for years – the CRA (Canadian Revenue Agency) scam.
At The Smith Investigation Agency, we regularly deal with various forms of fraud, including cases where individuals have been defrauded and seek our assistance in locating the perpetrators who have wrongfully taken their money. As we recently watched an episode of CBC Marketplace titled “Scam Centres,” it became evident that the CRA scam remains a significant concern, impacting numerous Canadians. In this blog, we aim to shed light on this ongoing threat and offer insights into how you can protect yourself against it.
The CRA Scam: A Deceptive Scheme
The CRA scam is a telephone-based fraud that has ensnared many unsuspecting victims. Scammers typically employ random phone numbers, often spoofed to appear as if they are calling from the Canada Revenue Agency. The caller, claiming to be a representative from the CRA, introduces themselves with a fictitious name and issues a false statement, such as:
“My name is (agent name), calling from Revenue Agency CRA. Canada Revenue Agency has filed a lawsuit against your name, and there will be legal consequences, including your arrest, for defrauding the government.”
This scare tactic is designed to instill fear and anxiety in the recipient, leading them to believe that they are facing imminent legal trouble. It’s crucial to note that the actual Canada Revenue Agency does not employ such tactics or issue threats of arrest over the phone regarding tax matters.
CBC Marketplace reported that over the last six years, more than 60,000 Canadians have filed complaints about falling victim to this scam. Shockingly, Canadians have collectively lost over $10,000,000 to these financial terrorists.
Understanding the Scammer’s Strategy
If you receive a call from scammers perpetrating the CRA scam, the best course of action is to block the number and avoid engaging with them. However, for those who choose to call back, the conversation typically follows a scripted pattern:
Caller: “Investigation Division of Canada Revenue Agency.”
Caller: “We have conducted a random audit and identified several miscalculations in your tax filings.”
Caller: “This is considered a felony, and if convicted, you could face up to five years in prison and a fine of $100,000.”
At this point, fear and apprehension set in, pushing the recipient to inquire about resolving the situation. The scammers often demand immediate payments, which can range from $5,000 to $10,000, and subsequently add additional fees and interest, gradually increasing the total amount owed.
One clear indicator that you are dealing with a scam is the method of payment they demand. In the CRA scam, scammers instruct victims to visit a Bitcoin machine to deposit the money. Bitcoin, being a cryptocurrency, is untraceable, making it a preferred choice for fraudsters. Additionally, some victims have reported using Xbox gift cards and similar items as instructed by scammers.
The Devastating Consequences
For those who believe the threats are real and lack the means to make the demanded payments, the consequences can be catastrophic. CBC Marketplace highlighted a case where a gentleman found himself in this situation. Coerced by the scammers, he took out loans, remortgageed his home, borrowed from family and friends, and exhausted his RSAs, credit cards, and lines of credit, accumulating debts exceeding $100,000. The financial strain left him in a dire predicament with no feasible means to repay the borrowed sums.
A Persistent and Evolving Threat
The scammers behind the CRA scam have been traced back to call centres in India, but they operate with a high degree of sophistication. They continually adapt and develop new scams to target unsuspecting victims. In Canada, as private investigators in Ontario, we regularly encounter various forms of fraud and scams. Unfortunately, in many cases, little can be done to bring the scammers to justice, as they frequently establish temporary operations, change phone numbers, and quickly move on once exposed.
Taking Action Against Fraud
If you have fallen victim to the CRA scam or any form of fraud, it is essential to report it promptly to the appropriate authorities. Contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre to provide information about your case. By reporting these incidents, you contribute to the collective effort to combat fraud and protect other potential victims.
At The Smith Investigation Agency, we understand the significance of addressing fraud and scams in our community. Our experienced private investigators in Ontario are well-equipped to assist with various investigative inquiries, including surveillance, investigative research, and training. If you have questions or concerns related to fraud or require professional investigative services, please reach out to us. We are committed to safeguarding your interests and helping you navigate the complex landscape of fraud prevention and detection. Your security and peace of mind are our top priorities.