A 24-year-old Peterborough woman, a 27-year-old Peterborough woman and a 57-year-old Peterborough man have all been defrauded out of thousands of dollars after falling victim to the Canada Revenue Agency scam.
“These scammers are extremely aggressive and relentless. They are targeting everyone and anyone regardless of gender or age,” explains Detective Constable Keith Calderwood, Peterborough Police Service Fraud Unit.
On October 29, 2018 a 24-year-old woman received a voice message on her cell phone stating she owed the CRA approximately $8,000 from two years ago and there is currently an ongoing investigation into her debt. The message further stated that if she didn’t repay the outstanding debt she would be arrested.
The victim called the number provided and spoke with a man pretending to be a police officer. The “officer” told the woman she could repay the money using the online platform BitCoin and instructed her to use a BitCoin machine located on George Street in Peterborough.
The victim advised the “officer” she only had $4,000 but could repay the full amount later. The “officer” reiterated that if she didn’t pay the full amount that day she would be arrested.
The victim then attended a local MoneyMart where she withdrew a $4,000 loan. The victim then went to the BitCoin machine on George Street and purchased $8,000 in BitCoins and sent a QR code to the fake officer to complete the transaction. The victim later spoke with a family member who advised she had been defrauded and urged her to contact police.
Also on October 29, 2018 a 27-year-old Peterborough woman received a phone call from a person stating that if she did not send them $5,000 a warrant would be issued for her arrest.
Scared by the threat, the victim sent the unknown person $5,000 through BitCoin. She was provided with a barcode to scan that allowed her to transfer the money. The victim later called police to report the incident after realizing she had been scammed.
In late October 2018 a 57-year-old Peterborough man received a phone call from an unknown male claiming to be a police officer investigating on behalf of the CRA. As a result of the phone call the victim purchased $2,000 in Google Play gift cards and sent the fake officer the serial numbers on the cards in order to pay his fake debt.
“If you get a call from someone you don’t know stating you owe money and threatening your arrest stop, pause and think. Hang up, call a trusted friend or family member and call your bank,” explains Detective Calderwood.
“The CRA will not ask for payment in the form of BitCoins, gift cards or prepaid credit cards. They will not threaten arrest or send a police officer to your home.”
If you have been the victim of a scam, meaning you have handed over money, please report the incident to the Peterborough Police Service at 705-876-1122 or via our online reporting system
If you would like to report receiving a scam phone call or message please call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or make an online report
From the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre:
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) continues to receive reports of emails, text messages and telephone calls related to tax scams. Tax scams can involve the following:
- Fraudsters are calling consumers impersonating the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and claiming that a recent audit has identified discrepancies from past filed taxes. Repayment is required immediately. Fraudsters threaten consumers that failure to pay will result in additional fees, jail time and/or deportation. Fraudsters may request payment via money service business, pre-paid cards / gift cards (iTunes) or bitcoin.
- Consumers receive an email or text message indicating a refund is pending from the CRA. The email includes a link that directs consumers to a website that looks like the actual CRA. Consumers are asked to fill in their personal information such as Social Insurance Number (SIN), Date of Birth (DOB) and banking information before receiving the refund (email money transfer). Victims who input their personal information are subject to identity fraud. No refund is ever issued.
Warning Signs – How to Protect Yourself
- Always confirm who has contacted you and who you are dealing with.
- Never provide personal information over the telephone, by text or email.
- Contact the CRA at 1-800-959-8281 or check My Account to confirm if you owe back taxes or are entitled to a refund.
- The CRA would never request payment by money service business, iTunes gift cards or bitcoin.
- For more information about frauds involving the CRA, visit the Canada Revenue Agency.
- If you’ve shared personal information, contact Equifax and Trans Union to place fraud alerts on your account.
- If you’ve shared banking information with the scammers, contact your financial institution to place alerts on your account.
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