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RCMP Ontario Fraud Awareness Campaign: Fraudsters threaten to blow up a victims house

(Milton, Ontario – Monday, January 18, 2016) –Members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Greater Toronto Area Financial Crime Unit would like to warn the public of an ongoing scam by imposters claiming to be Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) employees.

The following is a realistic portrayal of a CRA Scam that has been seen by RCMP investigators. This approach is one of many used by fraudsters.

Imagine your father, a middle-aged man who has had a long hard day at work, and all he wants to do is just to relax as he watches his favorite TV program. The home phone rings and his wife says they are asking for “Tom ____”.  (The number displayed on their callerID was 800-959-8281, which is a valid CRA phone number) Your father, “Tom ____”, has always lived in Kingston, Ontario. Tom takes the call when his wife passes the phone to him:

CRA Imposter: Hello I am calling from the Canadian Revenue Agency, is this Tom ____?

Tom: Yes, who is this, what is this regarding?

CRA Imposter: This is Eric Foster (an Anglophone surname, which is confusing as it is contrasted by a strong ethnic accent) of the Canadian Revenue Agency and my badge number is CRM 3542. Can I please have your date of birth and address?  

Tom: October 26, 1955, address is 106 Limeridge Crescent Kingston. Can you please tell me what is this related to? Is there a problem?

Eric Foster (CRA Imposter #1): Yes we checked your tax returns form 2008-2013 and we found you owe $5,000.This is a serious matter and you better resolve it now.

Tom: I don't understand. I did my taxes on time and I always pay what I owe. This makes no sense.

Eric Foster (CRA Imposter #1): You better cooperate otherwise you will be arrested and all your assets will be seized. (Raised tone of voice)

Tom: Why didn’t I get something in writing to inform me of this?

Eric Foster (CRA Imposter #1): We have sent you numerous letters which you did not answer so this is your last chance to resolve this debt.

Tom: I don’t’ understand, you are making me nervous, I do want to deal with this now but I still don’t understand how I could owe so much……

Eric Foster (CRA Imposter #1):  Interrupts…… Sir, I have my supervisor, Mr. Jonathan Knight, here and he will explain this better to you.

Tom: Ok, ok…(while on phone, wrote a note to his wife asking her to call CRA from her cell and inquire on the badge number and if this is legit call)

Jonathan Knight (CRA Imposter #2): This is Mr. Jonathan Knight badge number CRM 49711.  Mr. ___ this is a very serious matter and you are required to pay us in the next two hours or else an arrest will be made.  You owe us $5,000!!!

Tom: I don’t have that amount of money available. That is too much and I definitely won’t have it in the next two hours.

Jonathan Knight (CRA Imposter #2): What do you have in your bank account Mr. ____??Tom?? You better take me seriously, we need a payment tonight. We need you to send an electronic money transfer in next two hours!!

Tom: I could get half that cash in 30 minutes or so but not the full $5,000…… (his wife now wrote a note to him saying” It’s a scam, hang up”)
 
Jonathan Knight (CRA Imposter #2): Sir, you are not understanding how critical this situation is, do you want to go to jail??

Tom: I think you are not who you say you are and you are trying to scam me. I will call the local police and report this immediately. 

Jonathan Knight (CRA Imposter #2): THIS WAS A WRONG MOVE, WE KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE AND WE CAN COME KILL YOU OR MAYBE WE WILL BLOW UP YOUR HOME!!! (hangs up)

“Tom” and his spouse were seriously upset by the nature of this phone call and his wife most certainly was intimidated by the threat made in the end.  They looked up the number that appeared on their call display and it led them to a legitimate Canada Revenue Agency website. (Please note: although the phone number displayed was legitimate it was “spoofed” meaning it was made to impersonate another person or in this case CRA’s caller ID.) They contacted the local police and filed a report.  They were not aware that such tools existed to enable the caller to set any number to appear on a display. Luckily, they were able to identify the call was a scam and no money was lost. Unfortunately, for many other Canadians the fear and intimidation as well as the legitimacy of the phone number being a valid CRA phone number, pushed them over the edge and they sent money to the scammers.

To note: The names Eric Foster and Jonathan Knight have been used by CRA imposters in actual calls

What makes this worse is that many victims never report these incidents to the police. If you, a friend or family member has either received a call from a fraudster, or has lost money through this type of call, please report it.  Lastly, if you are reading this, please do your part in sharing this message with your friends and family and help us to create more awareness of this type of fraud.

This is a fraud similar to the Immigration scam. Both extort money from their victims through a number of different threats. Both of these frauds are being perpetuated coast to coast, and have impacted both male and female victims from many different age groups and cultural backgrounds.

When/if you receive a suspect phone call from someone purporting to be the CRA, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), [Formerly known as Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)], RCMP or other government agency please take the following steps:

  1. IF YOU HAVE CALL DISPLAY ON YOUR PHONE, NOTE THE NUMBER WHERE THE CALL CAME FROM.
  2. HANG UP.
  3. LOOK UP THE “REAL” NUMBER FOR THE AGENCY IN QUESTION.
  4. CALL THE AGENCY TO CONFIRM OR REFUTE YOUR SITUATION.
  5. REPORT THE FRAUDULENT CALL.

If you or a family member has fallen victim to this fraud, please report to your local police service, as well as the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC). You have two ways to make a report to the CAFC; either by phone at 1-888-495-8501 (9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  Eastern Time) or through their online reporting tool at http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/reportincident-signalerincident/index-eng.htm

Specific to this fraud, please visit the CRA website for more information on fraud prevention; there you will find samples of CRA scam voicemails and phone calls: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/scrty/frdprvntn/menu-eng.html

Starting next Monday January 25th we will be posting five questions (1 question per day), related to this media advisory, on our @RCMPONT Twitter account and on our Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Ontario Facebook page, www.facebook.com/rcmp.ontario. Test your skills, and respond with the correct answer.  At the end of each day we will post the right answer.

Please join in the discussion and help to raise awareness of this type of fraud.

If you would like to have a presentation about fraud and what to look out for, please contact our media relations officer, Sergeant Penny Hermann at 905-876-9571 or email mailto:penny.hermann@rcmp-grc.gc.ca

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Twitter: @RCMPONT
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/rcmp.ontario
YouTube: RCMPGRCPOLICE 
Website: RCMP in Ontario