The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) scam is still happening and, unfortunately, claiming more victims. Now, there is a new twist to the current CRA scam. Let’s recap the ongoing scam and then learn about the new one.
A representative from the CRA calls and tells the victim they owe tax money and if the victim does not pay immediately then the police will be dispatched to arrest them. Most victims are fearful and, although they do not believe they owe the money, the fear of being arrested wins over logic. The victim rushes to wire transfer the money owed or, on the direction of the fraudster, purchase prepaid gift cards and then provide the codes to the callers. The victim is out the money and the police are rarely ever able to solve these crimes.
In this new CRA scam, the fake government caller is friendly and tells the victim, the CRA made a mistake on their taxes. Instead of owing money to the CRA, the CRA actually owes the victim the money. Who wants extra money from the government? We all do…but be weary because it is a scam. Here’s how it goes:
The caller mails a “refund cheque” to the victim and tells the victim it will be for $500. Then the cheque arrives and it is for the wrong amount. Instead of it being for $500 it is for $1,000. The fake CRA employee calls the victim and tells the victim an error was made in accounting. Just go ahead and deposit the cheque in your account, but simply wire the extra money back to the government to fix the problem. A wire code is provided. Much later the cheque is proven to be a fake cheque and the wired money is long gone. Now, the victim is out that money and again it is very difficult for the police to solve these cases.
Usually, another victim picks up the money at the wire transfer location, there is no video, the location is in a faraway country and if the caller actually picks up the money, the caller will use fake identification.
Never deposit a refund cheque from the CRA unless you have called the correct CRA number yourself and have verified the information you are being told. As well, never provide personal details to anyone over the telephone unless you have initiated the telephone call and are aware of who you are talking to. Slow down, think it through and call a friend, family member, neighbour or the police for advice before wiring any money.
Sergeant Sheri Tate
Seniors Support Coordinator
905-579-1520 Ext. 5624