I don’t answer a phone call from a number I don’t recognize. Usually, if it is a legitimate call they will leave a voice message, which they did.
The voice message indicated that I was in serious trouble with Revenue Canada and was being investigated for tax fraud. I was not to ignore this message and to call back immediately.
I did call back and was told that there was a warrant out for my arrest and that I owed over $7,000 in back taxes. This scared me and I lost my common sense.
There were several times I questioned what was going on and should have terminated the call. I will tell you about them.
- They asked for my SIN just to verify my identity.
- They wanted me to stay on the line and not hang up. This is probably so I wouldn’t call anyone else and instead would stay vulnerable.
- The amount of money was really high and they were willing to reduce that amount to $2000 right away and cancel the arrest warrant. (This is my account to pay living expenses for three months but they didn’t care about that.)
- They kept confusing Canada Revenue with Internal Revenue.
- They asked the payment to be made immediately and not allow the payment to be made the next day to my local Service Canada office.
- They wanted the payment to be made through Western Union. (I understand sometimes they ask for the payment to be made by prepaid credit cards).
- The email address I was to send the money to was a Yahoo account.
I did give some of my personal information and had to change my credit card and bank account. I did give out my SIN and have had that flagged with Revenue Canada.
I live only two blocks from the police station so I actually hung up on them and walked over to find out if there was a warrant out for me. Good news! There wasn’t.
I did feel naive and vulnerable but lucky that my daughter and her boyfriend took charge and it didn’t go any farther.
The next day I went to the Service Canada office in Portage Place. They were very sympathetic but could do nothing because I didn’t give them any money. They gave me the number for Canadian Anti-fraud Centre (1-888-495-8501).
Today, over a month later and because the fraudsters still leave the same message on my voice machine, I called the Fraud Centre.
The person took all the information I had on these people. I had stayed on the phone with them so long I had a name, email, phone number and the language they used to scam.
The Canadian Fraud Centre suggested I tell as many people as possible and so this is why I am writing this today. They target everyone not just seniors. When I was at the police station, the person in front of me and behind me were reporting the same scam.
Your best defense is not to respond. If Canada Revenue needs to contact you, it is not over the phone.
This is a scam by people who are amoral and cruel. They invade your safety and your trust in humanity. Please be safe.