CRA scam defrauds victim
The Calgary Police Service is once again reaching out to the public to warn of increasingly aggressive tactics as part of what is known as the “CRA Scam.”
At approximately 9 a.m., on Wednesday, April 20, 2016, a woman received a phone call on her cell phone from a man claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency. The man asked for the woman by name and said that he was calling because she owed money for income taxes to the CRA and that there was a warrant out for her arrest and liens had been placed against her home, car and investments.
The man instructed the woman to go to a nearby grocery store, where he directed her to purchase Apple iTunes gift cards as a way of paying the debt owed on the taxes. He remained on the phone with her as she purchased the gift cards, and provided him with the activation codes.
He then instructed the victim to attend another grocery store and purchase additional iTunes gift cards. The victim complied and once again provided the activation codes over the phone to the scammer.
The offender told the victim he was at the courthouse attempting to have the arrest warrant removed. He then noted that the warrant had been re-issued and once again told the victim that more money was required to have the arrest warrant removed.
The victim proceeded to attend her bank and withdrew funds, before contacting a family member to request additional money. The family member contacted police, who were able to locate the victim and stop the fraud.
The victim was defrauded of nearly $20,000 before police were able to intervene.
Merchants and store cashiers are encouraged to be aware of customers asking to purchase large amounts of iTunes or other gift cards and to initiate conversations around potential scams.
Police encourage anyone who believes they may have lost money to one of these scams to call the Calgary Police non-emergency line at 403-266-1234. Anyone who may have other information about these scams is asked to contact the non-emergency number, or Crime Stoppers anonymously using any of the following methods:
TEXT: tttTIPS to 274637
Citizens can help protect themselves using the following practices:
- Beware of Phishing emails or phone calls posing as the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) requesting personal information, or links within an email re-directing to a fraudulent website that appears to represent the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The CRA does not email Canadians and request personal information.
- The CRA will not ask for payment via prepaid credit cards, gift cards or wire transfer. The CRA will not originate phone calls demanding money or threatening arrest.
- Look up published numbers for the CRA in the phone book and confirm the legitimacy of the caller’s story. Do not call numbers provided to you by the person who called you.
- Do not feel pressure to respond to a request until you have a chance to verify the story.
- Never transfer money, or give out credit card or other financial information, until you can verify the person’s identity and the story, and determine whether it is legitimate.
- Don’t believe what you see. Business logos, websites and email addresses can easily be duplicated to look legitimate.
- Watch for poor grammar and spelling.
- Hover your mouse over links to check their true destination. If the URL doesn’t match the link, or seems suspicious, don’t click on it.
- Be wary of unexpected emails that contain links or attachments from unknown senders.
- Update your computer’s anti-virus software.
- Never provide personal information such as SIN, bank account information or credit card numbers.