The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) scam has resurfaced in Victoria and Esquimalt, prompting police to release a few recordings of a fraudster leaving a message.
Victims of the scam typically receive a phone call from an angry caller, claiming to represent the CRA and that taxes are owed. The caller leaves voicemails demanding potential victims call them back or face immediate criminal sanctions for unpaid or fraudulently filed taxes.
Const. Kathi Brown, a Burnside-Gorge community resource officer, recently spoke with a group of seniors about the scam. The following week she was contacted by a senior who had received a number of calls from the fraudsters.
When Brown called the number left by the fraudster, the phone was answered with a “Canada Revenue Agency” greeting. Despite being frightened by the call, police said the senior in this case did not fall victim.
Since the scam surfaced last summer, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre has received more than 10,000 calls from across Canada. Last August, Victoria police were flooded with calls from citizens that were traumatized by the scam. In some cases, the victims attempted to turn themselves in for what they believed to be non payment of their taxes.
Investigators have also learned of several instances during the last 14 months where victims have sent money to the fraudsters. In December, a 101-year-old resident of the James Bay New Horizons Centre told staff she was contacted by the scammers.
Staff spoke with residents and discovered two of their members had fallen victim to the scam. One lost $450 — half her monthly rent — and the other lost $600. The centre gathered the funds to cover the rent. Staff also reached out to various partners in the community to inform them about the scam.
Police are urging members of the community to speak with friends, colleagues and loved ones about fraud.