Orangeville Police are investigating a fraud incident after a 33-year-old resident was taken for $3,400 by an individual he believed represented the Canadian Revenue Agency. In another case, Halton Regional Police investigators discovered a “digital wallet” had received 17 deposits in one 24-hour period totalling the Bitcoin equivalent of $11,900 U.S.
Geoff Gravett, CPA, CA, LPA & Partner and Partner at Millards Chartered Professional Accountants in Brantford says that while the methods have changed, the scam is still founded on people’s fears.
“Victims are being told that they have outstanding debt with the CRA and in order to avoid being arrested, they need to pay immediately. They are instructed to go to a local ‘Bitcoin’ ATM machines and deposit cash funds into an anonymous digital wallet.”
Gravett is encouraging Millards customers and the community to spread the word about CRA scams to co-workers, friends and family.
“Seniors are a popular target of this type of fraud. They’re trusting and often less savvy when it comes to the internet and phone scams. Please reach out to the people in your life that could be at risk and talk to them about this danger and the techniques employed by these scammers.”
If contacted by someone claiming to be from the CRA, police recommend hanging up the phone.
“Never provide personal information through the Internet or by email. The CRA does not ask you to provide personal information by email or make this type of call, but if in any doubt, contact the CRA directly. Never call the caller back on any phone numbers that they provided to you.”
It’s important to understand that the CRA or your banking institution would never:
- threaten or use inappropriate language
- ask for personal information by email or text message
- request payments by prepaid gift cards or through Bitcoin
- leave personal information on an answering machine
- give taxpayer information to another person
The CRA scam has been popular for a number of years and continues to evolve as fraudsters discover new ways to convince people that they owe money to the CRA.
“Other popular scams involve authentic looking letters or web pages replicating financial institutions. The scam may request personal information in order for you to receive a refund or inheritance payout. Many of these fraud attempts involve threatening or coercive language to intimidate victims. They can be extremely convincing.”
If you suspect you may be the victim of fraud or have been tricked into giving personal or financial information, contact your local police service. You should report deceptive telemarketing to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online or by calling 1-888-495-8501.
Geoff Gravett’s practice is heavily focused on successful private businesses. Whether it be through the provision of management advisory services, assisting with an important acquisition or business sale, obtaining financing or providing tax, estate and succession planning, Geoff takes pride in providing high value added services to clients of the firm. Geoff also provides a full range of services to clients in the healthcare sector from ongoing accounting and taxation requirements to practice start-up.