Scammers posing as Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) officials have become so regular that Canadians are tuning out the real agents.
The CRA and the RCMP said that they are making an effort to crack down on the call centres responsible, but Canadians have become so used to the fraudulent calls that it is assumed any messages from the CRA are not valid.
The RCMP say that three major operations have been taken down in India with the help of authorities there. A dozen people here in Canada were also arrested for involvement.
The RCMP say they have 4,000 known victims who have been scammed out of $15 million, and almost none of the lost funds have been recovered.
The CRA will never call you or leave messages and use threatening or aggressive language, and they won’t threaten arrest, says Tammy Branch, a director general for the CRA.
The agency says that they will never demand immediate payment by Interac e-transfer, bitcoin, prepaid credit cards or gift cards, and would never use text messages to communicate with taxpayers under any circumstances. They will sometimes call Canadians to request a payment if they owe taxes or money to a government program.
According to Staff-Sgt. Ken Derakhshan of the RCMP, newcomers to the country are particularly vulnerable to these scams, which can have a real financial and psychological impact.
-With files from The Canadian Press