Phone-a-fraud: What happens when you call out a scammer
Latest CRA scam threatens people, telling them that they're wanted by police
The latest Canada Revenue Agency phone scam making the rounds has raised the stakes for potential victims. This time, fraudsters are threatening arrest.
A producer with CBC Radio was on the receiving end of this scam when she received a worrisome voicemail this week.
The message claimed to be from a CRA officer who said the woman was "under federal investigation because of the misconduct and suspicious activities found in the audit report."
"Don't try to disregard the message," the caller said, "or else it will be taken as an offence from your side."
When the employee got a second message from someone again claiming to be a CRA officer, the situation escalated. She was told that a warrant was now being issued for her arrest.
"There is a case, a lawsuit getting filed under your name," the scammer said.
"If I don't hear a call from you, we'll have to issue an arrest warrant against your name and get you arrested."
Phoning the fraudster
On its website, the CRA warns taxpayers that scammers often use threatening language to persuade people to pay fictitious debt, and it advises people not to engage in communication.
But another CBC employee, Caroline Hillier, an associate producer with CBC's St. John's Morning Show, wanted to dig deeper.
Hillier called one of the numbers provided to the first CBC producer. She was asked to give her home phone number. When she declined, Hillier was also told that a warrant would be issued for her arrest.
The scammer hung up, but Hillier persisted and called back, getting a different man on the phone.
"Remember one thing, remember one thing in your mind: you are in big trouble, ma'am," the man told her.
"Call the police, they have your arrest warrant," he said.
"Give me your home number, and … [police] will come to your home, and they will put you into custody, ma'am."
When Hillier said she was uncomfortable giving her personal information, the supposed agent hung up on her.
The CRA told CBC that it never leaves personal information on an answering machine.
It said any message that does is a scam.
With files from Caroline Hillier