Duncan’s Robert Casey has been receiving increasingly threatening phone messages over a two-month period from a woman claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency.
The woman said she is from the CRA’s investigations department and that it’s been determined that he owes a significant amount of money in back taxes.
The woman said his is a “severe case” and that he should contact her immediately.
Casey said he assumed the calls were from a scam artist at work and didn’t return any of them.
He said the last message was the most threatening of them all.
“She said this was my final notice and if I didn’t call back and make arrangements to pay the money, I’d be immediately arrested,” Casey said.
“I called the CRA directly and was told the agency never calls taxpayers by phone. I think the public should know about this in case anyone gets similar calls.”
RCMP Island District spokesperson Cpl. Tammy Douglas said that with tax time on the horizon, income tax phone scams are increasing.
In fact, she said the RCMP’s Kimberly detachment received a call last week from someone claiming to be from the CRA, saying that back taxes were owed and that an arrest warrant would be issued if the money was not paid.
The problem is so widespread that the Better Business Bureau recently released a list of the Top 10 Scams of 2017, and the income tax scam was on it.
According to the bureau, more than $5 million has already been reported lost as the scam continues to proliferate.
Danielle Primrose, the president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Mainland B.C. says there is a new twist on the scam this year, with some scammers demanding payment in bitcoin, a currency that no government agency would accept.
Douglas said that in most cases, the CRA will use registered mail to contact people, not email or phone.
She said that if people are contacted by someone stating they owe taxes, they should contact the CSA directly to confirm the information.
“Never provide personal information over the telephone, by text or email,” Douglas said.
“If you’ve shared personal information, contact Equinox and Trans Union to place fraud alerts on your account.
For more information about frauds involving the CRA, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre’s website .