It’s our favorite season again, Tax Time! With tax season fast approaching, Paladin's Security Investigations & Risk Management division has noted a resurgence of telephone scams.
The infamous Canada Revenue Agency scam has resurfaced with a vengeance this year. In this telephone scam, random people receive telephone calls from scammers impersonating CRA employees and telling them that they owe money on their income tax and are generally threatened with imprisonment if payments are not made.
These individuals, and in some cases criminal groups, instruct their victims to send money through a direct bank transfer. At times, victims have also been asked to pay using gift cards or prepaid credit cards. Recently we have also seen examples of fraudsters wanting to stay on the phone with the victim while they drive to their local bank and make payment.
It appears that this scam is taking on a bolder and more threatening tone this year with fraudsters stating that they will kill an uncooperative target or even blow up their home. They threaten that if payment is not made immediately, they will be arrested. This year the calls seem a little more unpleasant with fraudsters becoming more aggressive and using forceful language in an attempt to scare their victims. This has become a Canada-wide problem with complaints flooding various police organizations from Vancouver to Halifax.
It’s quite difficult to identify the fraudsters as they’re becoming more and more sophisticated by using spoofing software to make it appear as though the call is originating from the CRA or even the local police. Victims have even reported seeing “RCMP” on their call display. Phone spoofing is actually legal in Canada, so victims need to be vary wary as to who they’re speaking with on the phone and the information they are providing.
It’s important to report any fraudulent calls that you may have received to your local police service as well as the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, whether you fell for the scam or not. Never give out any personal information over the phone and remember, the CRA will NEVER ask for payment via prepaid credit cards or gift cards.