“An investigating officer and a tax collection officer will visit you soon, to complete the legal paperwork,” the voice on the message says.
The caller explains that the federal organization will move quickly if the Canada Revenue Agency isn’t contacted.
“So the next 24 hours will mark a lien on your assets and bank accounts, due to your inability to pay your taxes to Revenue Canada.”
It’s a message designed to spark fear and worry. It’s also a scam.
“The Canada Revenue Agency does not use aggressive language threatening immediate arrest if you owe money,” said agency spokesman Paul Murphy.
Those on the receiving end of the phone call are often threatened or intimidated into sending the callers thousands of dollars in gift cards, pre-paid credit cards or cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin.
None of those, Murphy said, are legitimate ways of paying the Canada Revenue Agency.
Murphy also points out that the agency rarely cold-calls Canadians; it often sends notices through the mail.
“We’ll call you only if you don’t make your payment arrangements in a reasonable time,” Murphy said. “But typically, this is only after we send you a letter.”
Anyone who has received a phone call and has sent gift cards, credit cards, cash or handed out personal information should contact police.