[Scam Targets New Canadians and Seniors]
Be prepared for an official sounding robo-call. The male caller speaks in a voice with no noticeable accents. He leaves a brief message in your voice mail or recites the message if you happen to pick up the call.
He states that he is with Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and that it is extremely important that you phone them a 613-817-1703. He advises you that an “affidavit” has been filed in your name with CRA and that he wishes to discuss this matter.
It set off warning alarms in my mind as I had never before heard of CRA contacting tax-payers by telephone. It seemed to be a scam.
I Googled the telephone number. That’s right, Google is a great resource. My rule of thumb is that, “when in doubt, I Google”. The Google search quickly put me in touch with a site, “800Notes Directory of UNKNOWN Callers.
Am I ever glad I looked this crook up instead of calling. My premonition was correct – he/they are a scam operation operating out of Kingston, Ontario.
Here are a couple of notes left on the site by other potential victims:
“My wife received a call this morning from a a Shane Watson threatening jail and additional charges ($22000) if a bill from the Canadian Revenue Agency for nearly $2500 was not paid immediately.”
Caller: Canadian Revenue Agency
Call Type: Debt Collector
“I answered the phone and a recorded voice (north american accent) said it was the Canada Revenue Agency and that there was an affidavit submitted in my name and I was to call the number 613-817-1703. I called the number and they did not answer CRA. CRA always answers with the corporate name and the name of the individual talking. The gentleman asked for my name. I waited while he looked me up and in the background I heard others on the phone requesting personal info such as SIN, credit card numbers, etc. They were all East Indian voices. This is a scam and they are trying to rip you off. Btw, he never did find my name but had the gall to tell me that everyone had left for the day and to call back the next day. I said not a hope in hell”
Caller: Canada Revenue Agency
It is obvious that they have been targeting potential victims in Owen Sound recently. The Owen Sound Police Department posted a public warning on May 29, 2015 (http://owensoundhub.org/life/1144-owen-sound-tax-collection-scam.html) One specific case was discussed in the police warning wherein an Owen Sound resident had been told that if she did not immediately pay them $4,836 in tax arrears for 2009-2010, they would instruct the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to immediately arrest her. During the course of her 45 minute telephone conversation, these criminals were instant that she give them her credit card information so as to retire the debt and avoid arrest. She wisely refused and, instead turned the matter over to the Owen Sound Police.
Owen Sound Police Service’s Sgt. Ted Kitto advises “Income tax arrears will be identified on your C.R.A. Tax Assessment – not through a phone call. The C.R.A. does not leave telephone messages or cold-call citizens for income tax collections. When returning a telephone call to the Canada Revenue Agency, your call will always be greeted by an automated attendant – not a live person. And finally, Canada Revenue Agents are required to identify themselves with their name and their agent identification number.
Be confident in challenging these criminals. Demand that they provide their agent identification number, or better yet, hang-up on them.
A further check on the phone number 613-817-1703 is a land line provided by Fibernetics Corporation in Kingston Ontario, and have no reason to suspect that Fibernetics has anything to do with this fraud.
Here are a couple handy telephone numbers. I suggest if these fraudsters contact you that you immediately report them: The C.R.A.’s “LEADS” Program: 1-866-809-6841 and The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (Phone Busters) 1-888-495-8501 in addition to your local police.
I am willing to wager that that now that word is out concerning the telephone number, 613-817-1703; that these criminals will simply switch phone numbers and carry on.
Like the majority of hard-working and honest folks living in Canada, I fully support get-tough-on-criminals changes in our laws and especially minimum mandatory sentences. Scum (such as these despicable individuals) seem to target the weakest and most trusting members of Canadian society when they seek out victims who are aged or new to the country.
Heads up folks.