Cana­di­ans tun­ing out real CRA agents be­cause of CRA phone scam­mers

Asian Journal - - NATION -

Ot­tawa: The Canada Rev­enue Agency says so many Cana­di­ans get calls from scam­mers pre­tend­ing to be tax en­forcers that real tax agents are hav­ing trou­ble reach­ing peo­ple.

The CRA and the RCMP said in a briefing in Ot­tawa on Wed­nes­day that they are try­ing to crack down on call cen­tres loaded with fraud­sters who phone Cana­di­ans, tell them they owe back taxes, and threaten they had bet­ter pay the money back. Some peo­ple are so used to re­ceiv­ing the fraud­u­lent calls that they as­sume any com­mu­ni­ca­tion from the tax-col­lec­tion agency is bo­gus.

With help from po­lice in In­dia, the Moun­ties say they have dis­man­tled three ma­jor op­er­a­tions there and ar­rested a dozen peo­ple here in Canada who are in­volved in the scheme. The RCMP has counted 4,000 vic­tims who have lost $15 mil­lion. Vir­tu­ally none of the money has been re­cov­ered.

Tammy Branch, a di­rec­tor-gen­eral at the tax agency, says the CRA will never call or leave voice­mails us­ing ag­gres­sive lan­guage or threat­en­ing ar­rest.

Branch says agents will some­times phone when they’re look­ing for more in­for­ma­tion or if some­one owes taxes or money to a gov­ern­ment pro­gram. But the CRA says it will never de­mand im­me­di­ate pay­ment via e-trans­fer or Bit­coin, or com­mu­ni­cate via text mes­sage.

Staff-sgt. Ken Der­akhshan of the RCMP says fall­ing vic­tim to a scam can be fi­nan­cially and psy­cho­log­i­cally dev­as­tat­ing. The RCMP says new­com­ers to Canada, es­pe­cially those who don’t speak English or French, can be es­pe­cially vul­ner­a­ble.

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