While Canada Revenue Agency scams tend to increase around income-tax deadlines, police in Coquitlam are alerting residents about an heightened number of these scams taking place recently.
Coquitlam RCMP announced today (September 17) that they have the number of CRA Bitcoin scams being reported has jumped from about one report per month to one file per week this month.
In these fraud schemes, scammers contact individuals by phone and pretend to be either tax collectors or police officers and threaten to arrest the victim unless they make payments in cryptocurrency.
Coquitlam RCMP Cpl. Michael McLaughlin states in a news release that these fraudsters attempt to create a sense of urgency or panic, and will even teach victims how to send Bitcoin.
Those most commonly targeted are seniors, new Canadians, and other vulnerable individuals.
Unfortunately, Cpl. McLaughlin adds that if the money is sent, it is “most unlikely unrecoverable”.
Coquitlam RCMP and the CRA offer the following tips:
- the CRA will never threaten to arrest you or send you to the police, or leave messages threatening to give out your personal or financial information;
- if a government agency calls to say that you owe money, ask for their contact information and consult someone trustworthy before paying any money;
- the CRA never demands immediately payment by Interac e-transfer or in Bitcoin, prepaid credit cards, or gift cards;
- the CRA never uses text messages or instant messaging to communicate with taxpayers.
More information about the scam and how to protect yourself from fraud is available at the CRA website.
To report deceptive or suspicious telemarketing, call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.
Anyone who has been a victim of fraud should call your police of jurisdiction. For Coquitlam residents, the Coquitlam RCMP non-emergency line is 604-945-1550.