Nova Scotia

Tax scam targeting Canadians with IRS threats

Fraudsters behind the latest tax cheat phone scam making the rounds seem to have their tax agencies confused.

After beginning with threats, the message ends on a somewhat confusing note

The caller claims to be with the Internal Revenue Service, which is American, instead of the Canada Revenue Agency. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

Fraudsters behind the latest phone scam making the rounds appear to believe that Canadians pay taxes to the American Internal Revenue Service.

"Notice against your name for tax fraud, for tax evasion," the recorded message begins and continues with its threatening tone. 

"So before this matter goes to complaint goes out, or before you get arrested, kindly call us back on our callback number to get more details."

After beginning with threats, the message ends on a somewhat confusing note.

"Again, this is Officer Melvin Magic calling you from the Internal Revenue Service. Thank you and have a pleasant day."

Not once in the message does the caller name who he's trying to contact. And scammers "spoof" the call display to disguise the number they're actually calling from.

In this case, the number given to callback number has a 703 area code, which is used in Virginia. The message purportedly comes from a 613 number, which is the Ottawa area code.

Scam fairly common   

People on the anti-fraud website 800notes.com are weighing in on this call.

Most of them note the caller claims to be with the Internal Revenue Service, which is American, instead of the Canada Revenue Agency.

"I also received this call from Officer Melvin Magic," one poster writes. "I really can't see the IRS calling me as I live in Canada and have never worked in the United States. BS!"

Another poster to 800notes writes: "What an amateur idiot.I assume it's a physhing (sic) scam."

Halifax Regional Police say they're aware of this scam, which they say is fairly common. It's frequent enough that both the Internal Revenue Service and the Canada Revenue Agency have issued warnings to taxpayers.

"Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remain near the top of the annual Dirty Dozen list of tax scams for the 2015 filing season," the American tax agency wrote in a news release in January.

The Canada Revenue Agency issued a broader warning in 2013.

"These are phishing scams that could result in identity thefts," CRA said in a news release. "Email scams may also contain embedded malware, or malicious software, that can harm your computer and put your personal information at risk."

About the Author

Blair Rhodes

Reporter

Blair Rhodes has been a journalist for more than 35 years, the last 27 with CBC. His primary focus is on stories of crime and public safety. He can be reached at blair.rhodes@cbc.ca

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