Better Business Bureau of Mainland BC
VANCOUVER – A recent bust of a call centre in Mumbai, India seems to have led to a dramatic drop in the dreaded Canada Revenue Agency Tax Scam.
For the week of Oct. 3 to Oct. 9, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre received 358 complaints, but for the week following the bust in India, the number of complaints dropped to just 25.
“This scam has affected just about everyone at one time or another,” says Evan Kelly, senior communications Advisor for BBB serving Mainland BC. “Fortunately this scam wasn’t the leader in terms of loss, but almost everyone I’ve talked to say they received those dreaded and threatening calls, sometimes in the middle of the night.”
At the beginning of October, Mumbai police arrested 70 people and are questioning hundreds more who were part of a call centre targeting North Americans. The perpetrators bilked millions of dollars from unsuspecting victims in Canada and the U.S. and has been a growing problem for several years.
How the Scam Works:
These scams are most often perpetrated by phone and take two basic forms. In the first version, the CRA “agent” says you owe back taxes and pressures you into paying by prepaid VISA card or wire transfer. If you don’t comply, the scammer threatens you with arrest, fines, or deportation. In the other version, scammers claim they are issuing tax refunds and will ask you for personal information under the guise of transferring a refund. This information can later be used for identity theft.
The scammer may provide a fake badge number and name. Your caller ID will often indicate that the call is coming from Ottawa or a reputable police agency. In many instances, these scams are initiated with a very serious and official sounding “robocall” recording.