In October, 2016, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) announced a significant decrease in the amount of losses attributed to the CRA scam, following a large number of arrests conducted by Indian Authorities at a number of “call centres” in India. In the months following those arrests, the RCMP has continued to see that the number of reports related to the CRA scam remain at a fraction of what was reported prior to these arrests. Though the reports have diminished, it is clear that this scam has not ended. Furthermore, it would appear that the fraudsters are in the process of diversifying their approach. These perpetrators are attempting to re-engage victims who have previously lost money to the CRA scam. These fraudsters now appear to be testing the waters with a promise, sent via email, to pay back most of the funds that were lost, so long as the victim agrees to make an administrative payment (approximately 5% of the funds that were originally lost). The following is an actual quote from an email sent to a victim:
“We are happy to help you with our services. As you have already paid a huge amount of money to various scammers. Based on your background verification and as per your discussion with our senior management personnel Mr. David Carter, we are pleased to pay you CAD 97000 dollars. This is to inform you that the above amount will be given to you in four equal installments on the payment of nominal documentation fees which is 4.9% of CAD 97000$ which is equal to CAD 4753 dollar. This is a one time payment of the documentation charges which shall be collected at your door step by our representative. On receiving the said fees, we shall release your first installment cheque worth CAD 24250 dollars within 48 hours. If you have any queries you can reach us via email or you can call our management personnel whose details are as under. Mr. David Carter”.
Members of the RCMP Greater Toronto Area Financial Crime Unit would like to remind the public to remain vigilant of this type of scam which has been perpetrated by imposters claiming to be from the CRA, the Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (Formerly known as Citizenship and Immigration Canada), as well as a number of police agencies across Canada. These fraudsters have impersonated government officials and/or the police by telephone or by email. Fraudsters are either phishing for your identification or asking that outstanding taxes, and/or fees to be paid through the following means: money service business (Western Union or MoneyGram), electronic funds transfer (direct deposits), pre-paid credit cards, iTunes gift cards, and other prepaid gift cards.
This scam has been a very profitable for these offshore fraudsters. Based on statistics from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) over 2,000 victims have disbursed more than $6.2 million to fraudsters posing as government officials since January 2014. Over that same time period, the CAFC have received reports of roughly 40,000 calls made to Canadian residences demanding they send cash to resolve outstanding tax and/or Immigration related matters. Most disheartening of all, based on the CAFC analysis, the reported numbers may only represent about 5% of the actual losses.
Many victims never report these incidents to the police. 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. 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.antifraudcentrecentreantifraude.ca/reportincident-signalerincident/index-eng.htm