If you've ever gotten a phone call from someone pretending to be with Canada Revenue Agency saying that you owe money, you know how annoying the scheme can be. The RCMP have made arrests in the case and revealed the toll this had on Canadians. The CRA scam arrest nabbed two people from Canada who helped launder money made through the fraud which has reached well into the multi-millions.
From 2014 to 2019, Canadians who fell prey to the CRA phone trick lost more than $16.8 million. When you add the Bank Investigator and Tech Support schemes, that total goes to over $30 million.
On February 14, the RCMP announced that earlier in the week they arrested and charged two people from Brampton, Ontario in connection with scams including the CRA one.
Through an investigation that started in October 2018, those two people were found to be "money mules" or "money mule managers" operating in Canada that help launder money taken from Canadians through the phone phishing attempts.
Both have been charged with one count of fraud over $5,000, one count of laundering of the proceeds of crime and one count of property obtained by crime.
In a news release, the national police force said that even more arrests and charges relating to the scam might come from the investigation.
If you've been lucky enough to never get the seemingly endless phone calls, what happens is that the person on the other end of the line claims to be a government employee either with the CRA, RCMP or other agency.
Then they try to intimidate people into giving money for fines or taxes that don't actually exist and threaten arrest.
The schemes have been operating out of India since 2014 and there have been raids at illegal call centres there.
There were also new rules for Canadian phone companies to block the scam numbers but it still happens.
Were you contacted about a tax debt by someone claiming to be us? If you think it might be a scam, contact us to ma… https://t.co/yiZdFkUDGg— Canada Revenue Agency (@Canada Revenue Agency)1580332213.0
According to the RCMP, the fake calls have led to Canadians being suspicious of actual CRA employees when they try to get in contact with people.
If someone contacts you and asks for personal or banking information, you should hang up and report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
The CRA's website has tips to protect yourself against phone, email and text message scams and how to spot one of these schemes.