WATCH ABOVE: Victims of the phone scam are typically told they owe a substantial amount of money in back taxes, or that their status in Canada isn’t legitimate. Global’s Tony Tighe hears from one of the Calgary victims.
CALGARY – Scam artists have bilked over $50,000 from Calgarians in just over a week through calls in which they pretend to be from the Canada Revenue Agency.
Victims of the phone scam are typically told they owe a substantial amount of money in back taxes, or that their status in Canada isn’t legitimate.
The caller then threatens the victims with imprisonment or deportation if they don’t pay up through money transfers, prepaid credit cards and cash deposits into numbered accounts.
“If the victim challenges the offender, they are intimidated with threats of arrest, deportation, violence, sexual abuse and in some incidents, seizure of their children,” said a news release.
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In a number of recent cases, the fraudsters have sent a taxi to the victim’s residence to take them to a money transfer location.
Scammers are also making multiple phone calls to the victim, using different voices while posing as representatives of the CRA, Immigration Canada, the police and other authority figures.
While originally the scam seemed to targeting new Canadians, police say they have now heard from a wide variety of victims.
Since February 2015, investigators say more than 600 cases of fraud involving this scam have been identified in Calgary.
Police encourage anyone who believes they may have lost money to one of these scams to call the Calgary Police non-emergency line at 403-266-1234.
Anyone who may have other information about these scams is asked to contact the non-emergency number, or contact Crime Stoppers.