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Canada Taking Action On Fraudster India-Operated Call Centres Involving CRA Phone Scam

OTTAWA – While people should have the common sense to hang up on phony CRA phone calls asking for money but it seems that people tremble when they hear of CRA and hand over money to these scamsters operating from call centres in India.

With many people having been scammed, the Canadian government finally has “at least one very significant investigative operation underway” at the moment into one of the largest cyber crimes in Canadian history — the CRA phone scam.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said both Canadian and Indian authorities are working to shut it down.

Goodale made the comments while responding to a months-long CBC Marketplace investigation that traced some of those fake tax calls to illegal call centres in Mumbai.

The CRA scam usually begins with an automated phone message claiming that the target is facing a lawsuit over unpaid taxes owed to Canada Revenue Agency, and demanding they call back or face arrest. Those who return the calls face further threats, before being instructed to pay an outstanding sum, sometimes through bitcoin or gift cards.

While in India, Marketplace spoke to Param Bir Singh, the police commissioner of the Mumbai suburb of Thane, who said he only became aware Canadians were being targeted after he visited the RCMP website and saw a posting about it, reported CBC News.

“Nobody contacted us from Canada. It doesn’t seem right,” he said.

But Goodale says those conversations are taking place with other law enforcement officials.

“Canadians can be assured that the RCMP treat this very seriously and want to do everything we can — at home and abroad — to shut it down,” he said.

Canadian and Indian authorities are not only in contact, but also co-ordinating with other allies and exchanging intelligence, Goodale said.

At least 60,000 Canadians have complained about being targeted by the CRA phone scam over the past five years. More than $10 million has been stolen during that same time period, making it one of the largest cyber scams in Canadian history.

 

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