Recent CRA scams have reportedly originated from criminal elements both in Canada and overseas, with multiple suspects identified in recent weeks. One arrest was made in December as part of the RCMP’s Project OCTAVIA, launched in October 2018 to defend Canadians against scammers.
Brampton resident Abhinav Bector was charged as a ‘money mule’, suspected of fraud exceeding $5,000. In early December, Thomas Pao was similarly charged and issued an arrest warrant, but is suspected to be located in China. Both Bector and Pao have homes in Ontario.
According to the RCMP, several people involved with money laundering have been uncovered. In total, nine have been arrested as part of Project OCTAVIA.
The RCMP added that fraudsters linked to CRA scams have cost Canadian victims over $18.5 million. Other scams include the famous tech support scam and bank investigator scam, costing Canadians a further $16 million or so.
In these scams, phone calls made from India pretend to be legal tax or police authorities who pressure victims into making payments towards false taxes or fraudulent fines, with threats of arrest if payment is not made. Phishing attempts typically involve web-links that lead victims to a fraudulent CRA website, where they unwittingly divulge their personal information to the scammers.
The Canadian government has created a webpage as part of its effort to inform people of these scams. They state that scammers will pressure people to provide their bank account details, credit card numbers, social insurance number, or passport number. The RCMP has advised people to immediately hang up the phone if they suspect such a scam, and report any suspicious call activity regarding requests for personal information.