New Canada Revenue Agency (tax) scam

on Feb 11, 2015 @ 10:05 am

Be aware! My mother-in-law was nearly scammed yesterday by someone claiming to be an agent of the "Criminal Investigation Department of the CRA".

She passed the phone along to me because the person was being so aggressive and also confusing, and I'm embarrassed to say that he had me believing for quite a while until he started to make some serious factual errors.

In a nutshell, they claim that you have been audited and errors have been detected in your recent tax returns. They tell you they sent registered letters to which you never replied, and now a law enforcement officer is on his way to your house right now to arrest you. They tell you that the call is being recorded and will be entered as evidence into your court file and that criminal penalties will be assessed. 

They also called my MIL an "enemy of Canada" and "no better than a terrorist"... again, I'm horrified that I didn't clue in sooner. 

They then instructed that if we pay the penalty (which is an affordable amount in the low $1000s) then they can call the arresting officer and have the warrant removed. Here is where they made their mistake.

They asked us to go to a local vendor to buy a tax voucher (the local vendor was a grocery store?!?). I challenged this ask, saying that if we did owe taxes, shouldn't we be instructed to pay at a tax office or perhaps at a registered bank? He told me to stop asking so many questions or I might be arrested (I had been grovelingly polite throughout the exchange, since unfortunately I was believing he was legit and didn't want to be disrespectful and cause more trouble).

After he was unable to get me to commit to paying, he transferred my call to the arresting officer for additional intimidation, and this is where I finally determined for sure that it was fraud. The officer did not identify himself, said he was from the "local police department". I asked which one. He said "the local one". GOTCHA. I asked for his name and badge number, then said I'd call my tax lawyer and he can go ahead and come arrest us in the meantime. He hung up on us and I immediately called the RCMP.

They confirmed that this is a known scam. SO PLEASE be aware. Tell your family members, especially seniors (my MIL is a senior). They basically tried to scare her to death, and I am terrified to think what they have all done to other people who maybe have a heart condition.

The RCMP says that the CRA does not send a special task force out to arrest you. This is their first lie. Don't give them any personally identifying info (we were at least smart enough to avoid this). Learn from our foolishness, and stay safe!

(also, buy a large dog and claim you're too busy to talk on the phone because you're polishing your guns. Ok, I'm sort of joking.)

22 Replies

Omg on Feb 11, 2015 @ 10:26 am

Wow!! This is insane!!! Thank you for letting us know!

embarrassed on Feb 11, 2015 @ 10:46 am

You're welcome :) I'm actually quite embarrassed about this because I have considered myself to be wise to such bullsh*t but these guys have a great script and an answer to everything. Just goes to show that criminals can be very smart and no one should think they're immune.

apparently not a new scam on Feb 11, 2015 @ 10:53 am

I googled this scam and am now seeing that this has been around for a while. There are two main versions (but be aware of twists):

Version A is what I described above. You have committed tax fraud and someone is coming to arrest you right now.

Version B: you have an unexpected tax refund, but in order to claim it you have to do certain things.

More here:

Since it's now tax season, these kinds of calls may be more common than during other times of the year. Be safe!

Dont be on Feb 11, 2015 @ 10:54 am

You shouldnt be embarrassed, its a whole system they've created. It's not overnight project :( You have to be very carefully these days :/

Ali de Bold
Enemy of Canada on Feb 11, 2015 @ 11:27 am

I think calling her an "enemy of Canada" and "no better than a terrorist" is a pretty hilarious tactic.

If anyone ever calls you and makes statements like that you need to consider that no government agency or the local police could ever get away with making those kinds of statements. They'd get in a lot of trouble. Police are also not known for giving a heads up they are coming to arrest you.

Another telltale sign is using threats and intimidation when you question them. You should always be allowed to ask questions and check your facts.

Always confirm your facts and never give money to anyone over the phone or at a nonsensical location.

I'm kind of hoping they call me now. Would love to waste their time.

"we want to make sure you're home when the arresting officer comes" on Feb 11, 2015 @ 11:41 am

Yeah, looking back at the entire conversation yesterday I see all kinds of red flags and it's baffling to me that I allowed them to rattle me enough. But they talk so fast and throw case file numbers and Terms & Conditions at you in rapid-fire to distract you from the nonsense in there. Typical magician's trick - distract with the left hand so you can't see them make the ol' switcheroo with the right hand.

Ali de Bold
Thank you for sharing your story! on Feb 11, 2015 @ 11:45 am

I'm so glad you posted this here, Mamaluv. Hopefully it spares others from being duped. Thank goodness you were there to help your Mother in Law out!!

Thanks on Feb 11, 2015 @ 01:31 pm

Thank you for the information, I will gladly tell people I know to be careful as well. Lucky you had caught the person in time before anything serious went on. I agree there is scams that seem real at that moment but than you know the truth and catch it so there's no need to be embarrassed.

Wow! on Feb 19, 2015 @ 11:19 am

Thanks for the warning. I will be sure to inform all my friends and relatives especially the most vulnerable seniors and disabled among them. What won't these evildoers try?!

Thanks for this post on Feb 19, 2015 @ 11:11 pm

Thanks so much I am going to let my parents know they are getting up in age and have had scams on the phone before. Great post.

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