Surrey resident falls victim to $18,000 CRA, Bitcoin scam

Police provide tips to help others avoid being defrauded

Surrey RCMP are warning the public after a resident was defrauded out of $18,000 in yet another Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) scam.

Police say the person fell victim to a telephone scam, in which fraudsters posed as CRA “officers.”

“They told the victim that they had a warrant, and in order to resolve the warrant they would have to pay,” police said in a release. “The men ordered the victim to exchange Canadian Currency into Bitcoins and then transfer that currency to them. Out of fear of being arrested, the victim transferred the money.”

Surrey RCMP say in such scams, fraudsters “contact members of the public and falsely assert that the person they are speaking with owes a large tax bill or penalty. They often use threatening language, and pressure their victims by leading them to believe they are facing an arrest, or other legal action unless they immediately pay a sum of money.”

See also: Police say story of pretend cops ‘arresting’ woman in CRA scam fake

See also: Eight arrested in Surrey following fraud investigation by RCMP

Vancouver police also issued a warning this week after fraudsters were believed to have posed as police officers and tried to arrest a woman in yet another Canada Revenue Agency scam.

But on Friday, police said a woman’s concerning tale of being arrested by a scammer pretending to be a police officer before swindling her out of $6,000 was “exaggerated.”

VPD said the 58-year-old woman received a phone call from someone claiming to be from the national tax agency.

The caller told her there was a warrant for her arrest related to a balance owed from her taxes, before connecting her to another fraudster who acted as an RCMP officer.

The woman said two fake RCMP officers showed up at her home, handcuffed her and placed her in an older-model sedan before taking her to a bank to withdraw $6,000.

Major Crime detectives with VPD has confirmed that while the woman was scammed out of her money, the rest of her story did not happen.

Back in Surrey, RCMP Corporal Elenore Sturko said people can be vulnerable to these scams when they’re unsure of how taxes are collected in the country.

“We want to share important information about tax collection, and to assure the public, that they will not be threatened as part of the tax collection process,” said Sturko.

Surrey RCMP are sharing the following information to help people avoid becoming a victim of fraud:

  • The CRA will never use aggressive or threatening language, nor will it threaten arrest of send police.
  • CRA does not accept payment by prepaid credit cards or gift cards (such as iTunes, Home Depot, etc.), e-transfer/digital currency (such as Bitcoin, Steam cards, etc.), wire transfer (such as Western Union, Money Gram, etc.).
  • The CRA accepted payment methods are online banking, debit card, pre-authorized debit, credit card or Pay Pal through a third-party service provider.

Police say if you are not sure the call you received is from the CRA, avoid taking any action as a result of pressure or threats from suspicious callers. Instead, confirm the status of your tax accounts and verify whether the communication is really from the CRA by calling 1-800-959-8281 or by checking My Account at canada.ca/my-cra-account. You will never be penalized for double-checking that you’re talking to the real CRA.

For more information on frauds and scams, and how to protect yourself, visit the Surrey RCMP website or visit canada.ca/taxes-fraud-prevention.

-With files from Ashley Wadhwani

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