The “Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Scam” has claimed hundreds of victims during the past year, but a 101-year-old Victoria woman refused to be added to that list.
The senior, a resident of the James Bay New Horizons Centre, notified staff when she was recently contacted by scammers posing as a representative of the CRA.
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 requests immediate payment by credit card or convinces the victims to purchase a prepaid credit card and call back immediately with the information. If they don’t, the victims are often threatened with court charges, jail or deportation.
In this case, the senior was told she had outstanding taxes and was about to be prosecuted, but she was unfazed.
Staff spoke with residents and discovered two of their members had fallen victim to the scam. One lost $450 — half her monthly rent — and another lost $600. The centre gathered the funds to cover the rent and staff have since reached out to various nearby partners in the community to inform them about the scam.
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. That same month, the CRA issued a public warning about the scam after seeing an increase in reports.
Investigators are reminding the public that the CRA never contacts people over the phone to discuss fraud concerns and never threatens arrest over the phone unless a reduced fine is paid during that conversation. Anyone who’s fallen victim to the scam should call 250-995-7654.