By David F. Rooney
We have published two stories since July about scammers contacting people by e-mail and by phone and claiming to be with the Canada Revenue Agency.
Most people would probably regard such a telephone call as fraudulent. Federal agencies do not call citizens cold claiming they owe the government money and threatening to arrest them if they don’t cough up some cash. And since I haven’t heard any more about these lame-o fraudsters I presumed they had given it up and gone on to try some different method of separating the gullible from their money.
Well, I was wrong. They’re still at it and local resident Graham Harper sent me a recording of one of these clowns who left a message on his home voice mail.
Graham and Wendy were somewhat surprised to receive the call and thought The Current and its readers would be interested in hearing it.
“Honestly we did nothing because we know it’s a scam,” he said Friday, October 9. “Generally at home we don’t answer numbers we don’t recognise, but just let them go to (voice mail)… but any other vulnerable person could easily be concerned. You never know also if it’s a premium rate number to dial back.”
The local RCMP detachment is receiving complaints about these calls on an almost daily basis, says Staff Sgt. Kurt Grabinsky.
“We are fielding at least 2 to 3 calls a day with very upset people, mainly the elderly, who are being told they owe Revenue Canada money and that if they fail to pay, that the RCMP will be arresting them,” he said Friday, October 9.
“These phone calls have been occurring for several months and are not legitimate calls from Revenue Canada. The RCMP will not be arresting you even if you currently owe tax money. The scam appears to originate from foreign countries, and the RCMP have had minimal success in identifying those responsible. The best option when you receive a call where they say they are with Revenue Canada and they are demanding money, is to end the phone call. Revenue Canada is aware of this scam and will not make such a call.”
The call was made from 613-707-0418. The 613 area code is for Eastern Ontario, which encompasses a significant portion of the province. If you google the number you’ll get 80 hits. The caller is fairly fluent in English but has a faint foreign accent. Please click here to listen to this recording of a bogus Canada Revenue Agency official.
But here’s a shocker: some of the calls appear to come from local Revelstoke numbers.
“Some of the calls have a Revelstoke number,” he said without revealing the actual number. “They have gotten around phone issues and can come from all sorts of lines, and the from entirely different places.”
That’s not as surprising as you may think. For a while last year the telephone number for St. Peter’s Anglican Church was hijacked by computer-savvy scammers. Please click here and here to read about that disconcerting case.
If you have received one of these calls or have received an e-mail from someone claiming to be from the CRA please click here for more information.
Please click here to read our August 18 story.
Please click here to read our July 9 story about an e-mail version of this scam.