Milton: Members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Greater Toronto Area Financial Crime Unit recently warned the public of an ongoing scam by imposters claiming to be Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) employees.
The following is a realistic portrayal of a CRA/IRCC scam that has been seen by RCMP investigators. This approach is one of many used by fraudsters. In certain cases some of the fraudsters speak in perfect English, whereas on other occasions, it is next to impossible to understand what they are saying due to a foreign accent.
Imagine this, you have been in Canada for a number of years and your father immigrated to Canada within the last year. Your father fled a war torn country and came to Canada for a better and a safer way of life. Your father’s name is “Asher” and he works full time to support himself and his wife. Asher lives in St. Thomas, Ontario. Just as he is about to leave his apartment to go to work, his phone rings, and the call display shows it as coming from the Canadian Revenue Agency (spoofed number).
Eric Foster (CRA imposter): Hello this is the Canada Revenue Agency calling, you need to deal with a problem. You owe the government money, is this Asher?
Asher: I can’t understand what you are saying? Who are you?
A long conversation follows during which the first impostor brings in another fake from Immigration Dept, threatening to deport Asher. Asher was held hostage to his cell phone for the next 8 hours, fearing that if he did not do exactly as “Mr. Knight” dictated, both he and his wife would be deported. Asher feared that his worst nightmare would come to fruition; being deported to his homeland, a place that he now feared. Initially, the fraudster told Asher to send money, in installments, via Western Union and MoneyGram.
Some outlets accepted his transfers, whereas some outlets told Asher that it was a fraud. When Asher told “Mr. Knight” that he was told that it was a fraud, Asher was scolded and was reminded that he and his wife were still facing deportation if the funds were not received today. “Mr. Knight”, then directed Asher to send the remaining balance via a combination of a direct bank to bank transfer, along with a number of prepaid credit cards (with these cards, fraudsters direct victims to give them the account information on the cards, giving them access and the money is gone).
By sundown, Asher lost everything that he and his wife had saved. Sadder yet, Asher was unaware that this was a fraud until his wife asked him, what had happened to their savings. Unfortunately, Asher is one of many Canadians who have been coerced into sending money to the scammers.
The RCMP is asking people to take these steps to avoid falling for this scam:
1) Note the number where the call came from.
2) Hang up.
3) Look up the real number of the agency.
4) Report the call.