Phone scammers pretend to be Vancouver police in new CRA fraud scheme

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      An existing phone scam has taken on a new twist in Vancouver.

      The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) issued a warning today (October 17) that they have received several reports about residents receiving phone calls from individuals who identify themselves as calling from the VPD or Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

      In these scam scenarios, a fraudster will call a resident and identify him- or herself as a representative from the CRA. The caller will ask the resident to look up and give the number of the local police department.

      After the caller hangs up, the resident will receive another call from an individual who claims to be a police officer.

      The phone number that appears on call displays with these calls is the VPD non-emergency number.

      The fraudster will provide a false badge number and will claim that the victim’s social insurance number has been used to created credit card accounts with large balances that are due.

      The caller will then demand that the resident sends Bitcoin or gift cards to pay off the alleged debts.

      However, the VPD stated that they neither use that number to make outbound calls to residents nor ask for payments.

      “The non-emergency police line is for residents to use to report incidents to the police,” VPD spokesperson Sgt. Aaron Roed stated in a news release. “We ask that if you receive a call like this, you hang up immediately and spread the word to friends and family.”

      In Canada, it is illegal to impersonate a police officer.

      Anyone who receives these calls is asked to report them to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online or toll free at 1-888-495-8501. More information about reporting fraud, including contacting credit burueas if your personal information has been compromised, is available at the VPD website. 

      Anyone in Vancouver who may have been the victim of fraud is also asked to contact VPD at 604-717-3321 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

      More tips about preventing fraud is available at the VPD website. 

      A number of similar scams have been taking place across Metro Vancouver in recent months.

      On September 17, Coquitlam RCMP warned citizens about an increase in similar CRA Bitcoin scams, which usually occur around income-tax deadlines. 

      On September 19, Burnaby RCMP announced that officers arrested an individual in late July believed to be involved in phone scams. 

      In late August, North Vancouver RCMP were able to intercept a $9,300 payment made by a senior who received a call from someone claiming to be her grandson.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook