CRA impostor swipes $4,800 from Brantford man, police say
Victim got phone call Tuesday from someone claiming to be from Canada Revenue Agency
A Brantford senior is left with a $4,856 loss after falling victim to a phone scam, police say.
I don't know if people are doing this through cold-calling or if they're purposely targeting certain people.- RCMP Sgt. Penny Hermann
Brantford police say the incident occurred at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, when the victim received a phone call from someone claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency.
The person claimed that the victim had failed to pay an income tax statement totaling $4,800, and that if the payment was not sent by 1 p.m, a warrant for his arrest would be issued and his assets would be frozen.
The man was then ordered to go to his bank, at which point he withdrew $4,856 and transferred the money via Western Union. During the procedure he was repeatedly told not to discuss what or why he was doing this or his assets would be frozen.
Brantford Crime Prevention Officer Laura Collier said that these types of scams are commonplace around March due to tax season.
"Taxes are on everybody's minds around this time of year," she said. "Because of that, it can be easier to target people."
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and the RCMP have been warning Canadians of the scam recently, reminding people to stay aware and be alert for any suspicious calls or demands made over the phone.
'I think everyone can be a target'
RCMP Sgt. Penny Hermann said that that the number of reported CRA-related incidents rose from 7,000 in August of 2015, to 14,500 this January of this year, and that there is a 'good possibility' of cases specific to Hamilton.
"I don't know if people are doing this through cold-calling or if they're purposely targeting certain people, but I think everyone can be a target," said Hermann.
"I've heard of incidents involving people who have been here for a long time and have no idea what the scammer is talking about. It just depends on whoever they're able to con into giving them money."
Earlier in March, the Better Business Bureau announced that CRA scams took the No. 1 spot on its 'Top 10 Scam List of 2015'. In Hamilton, the Police Fraud Unit reported that 18 per cent of mass marketing scams during 2015 were CRA-related.
Victims of scams are asked to call local police and contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at their website.