October 30, 2018 8:45 pm
Updated: October 31, 2018 3:07 pm

Peterborough residents lose thousands in Canada Revenue Agency phone scam

Tue, Oct 9: It's a scam that has been around for years, but the Better Business Bureau is warning again of its costly fallout. Global News' Tomasia DaSilva explains what to look out for and how much the scam could cost Canadians this year.

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Peterborough police say three more residents have lost thousands of dollars after falling victim to the Canada Revenue Agency phone scam.

Two incidents happened on Monday, police say. In one case, a 24-year-old woman received a voice message on her cell, stating she owed the CRA around $8,000 from two years ago and that there was an ongoing investigation into her debt. The message indicated she would be arrested for her outstanding debt.

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“The victim called the number provided and spoke with a man pretending to be a police officer,” police stated. “The ‘officer’ told the woman she could repay the money using the online platform BitCoin and instructed her to use a BitCoin machine located on George Street in Peterborough.”

Police say the woman informed the called she only had $4,000 but could repay the full amount later. However, the caller said she needed to repay the full amount on that day or face arrest.

READ MORE: CRA tax scam could cost Canadians a record amount in 2018: BBB

As a result, the woman withdrew a $4,000 loan from a MoneyMart and then purchased $8,000 in BitCoins and sent a QR code to complete the transaction, police said. A family member later informed her she was likely a victim of fraud and she then called police.

WATCH: NDP MP asks Trudeau how government will protect Canadians from phone scams

Also on Monday, police say a 27-year-old woman received a similar call, stating she had to pay $5,000 to the CRA. Police say this woman sent $5,000 through BitCoin to an unknown person. She later called police to report the incident after she realized she had been scammed.

WATCH: NDP demand action on scam CRA phone calls

Earlier this month, police say a 57-year-old man also received a call from someone claiming to be a police officer investigating on behalf of the CRA.

“As a result of the phone call, the victim purchased $2,000 in Google Play gift cards and sent the fake officer the serial numbers on the cards in order to pay his fake debt,” police stated.

Det. Const. Keith Calderwood with the police service’s fraud unit says scammers are aggressive and relentless.

READ MORE: NDP demand action on scam CRA phone calls

“They are targeting everyone and anyone, regardless of gender or age,” he said.

“If you get a call from someone you don’t know stating you owe money and threatening your arrest, stop, pause and think. Hang up, call a trusted friend or family member and call your bank.”

Calderwood notes the CRA will not ask for payment in the form of BitCoins, gift cards or prepaid credit cards.

“They will not threaten arrest or send a police officer to your home,” he said.

If believed to have been victimized by a scam, police advise residents to report the incident to the Peterborough Police Service or its online reporting system.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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