Beware fake CRA calls demanding payment in Bitcoin, police warn
The Canada Revenue Agency absolutely never tries to collect overdue taxes by demanding payment in Bitcoin.
That's the message from Mounties as they respond to an increasing number of fraudulent phone calls from people pretending to be CRA employees in Coquitlam.
While it may sound like an obvious scam to some, the RCMP noted that the fraudsters tend to target elderly people and employ serious pressure tactics to get them to fork over their savings.
"Scammers will try to instill a sense of urgency and panic in their victims and keep them on the phone through the whole crime, even teaching them how to send Bitcoin," Cpl. Michael McLaughlin said in a statement.
"We need to educate our family and friends because if these callers reach them first, the money is most likely unrecoverable."
Mounties said they generally get about one report about these kinds of CRA phone scams per month, but that the rate has increased to one per week in September.
Authorities said there are a few things people can do to protect themselves. People who get the sense they might be speaking with a scammer are encouraged to simply hang up and take a few minutes to think about what's happening.
The RCMP also recommends that people get contact information from anyone who claims to be representing the government and demanding money. And consult with someone trustworthy before paying anyone anything.
Police also stress that the CRA will not ask for payment in any kind of cryptocurrency, prepaid credit card or gift card, and never use text messages or instant messaging to contact taxpayers.
Anyone who wants to report deceptive or suspicious telemarketing can contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501. People who believe they have already fallen victim to fraud should instead call local police.