Police said the call centres involved are believed to be among those behind the threatening phone messages commonly received by Canadians. The callers pose as CRA agents and demand payment of fines or tax debts, usually in Bitcoin, on a threat of prosecution.
The call centre operations were shut down by local authorities, who received information from the RCMP and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, as well as the support of an RCMP officer stationed in India, the RCMP said.
The announcement brings the number of Indian call centres busted in relation to the CRA scam to 19 since September.
“This latest development is part of a broad and long-standing international effort to address call centres that perpetuate fraud,” the RCMP said in statement Thursday.
The RCMP said earlier this fall that the scam has bilked more than 4,000 victims out of $15.2 million.
The bogus calls are so common that Canadians have become wary of speaking with legitimate representatives from the Canada Revenue Agency, The Canadian Press reported last month.
“Prevention and awareness are very important when it comes to reducing these fraudulent calls,” Sgt. Guy-Paul Larocque, acting officer in charge for Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, said in a statement.
“If you receive a suspicious call, hang up and report the phone number and information to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.”
Signs of a telemarketing scam
Knowing the tactics behind common scams help you avoid becoming a victim. According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, here are a few signs that a call is not legitimate.
- The offer sounds too good to be true. Win a contest you can’t remember signing up for? Asked to participate in an investment opportunity promising unrealistic returns? If it sounds like a scam, it probably is.
- The caller is requesting private information about financial accounts. You don’t need to provide a credit card number to accept a prize. And legit businesses don’t need account info beyond the method of payment you are using to make a purchase.
- The caller tries to form a friendship with you. “Criminals love finding out if you’re lonely and willing to talk. Once they know that, they’ll try to convince you that they are your friend – after all, we don’t normally suspect our friends of being crooks,” the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre said.
- There’s a strong sense of urgency to the offer. “If you are pressured to make a big purchase decision immediately, it’s probably not a legitimate deal. Real businesses or charities will give you a chance to check them out or think about it.”
(Source: Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre)