Swindlers Pretend To Be CRA Workers And Harm Eight People For $100,000
Within a week, eight people were scammed for $100,000. They were targeted by scammers posing as agents of the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA).
Scammers Used Phone Calls and ATM Bitcoins To Commit Crimes
According to CBC News, the Waterloo Regional Police are now warning the community to be careful after eight people were scammed for $100,000 in a five-day period.
At first, one of the victims was scammed for $25,000, while three others lost $20,000 each. The modus operandi was carried out by the con artists on the phone with the victims for hours. They spoke with extreme aggression about the taxes these others owed. The phone scammers told the victims to deposit their money at Bitcoin (BTC) ATMs .
While the community is dismayed by the facts, police officials have warned the public to be careful when it comes to calls from people claiming to be from the CRA. The investigative body explains that scammers can easily change their phone numbers to look like they belong to a government organization or business.
Government officials are now conducting information campaigns explaining to their citizens that the country's government organizations do not operate with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or some other of the altcoins. Agents also reiterate to the general public that they do not accept iTunes gift cards and do not request payment from prepaid credit cards. Police officers also do not request personal information via text message or e-mail.
Government Warns Of New Scamming Techniques
The government and the press in Canada are working together to inform the entire community, given the sophistication of the criminals posing as CRA agents. It is noted that although they may be “criminals, they are not stupid” and will use all personal information to hack into their victims' devices.
Chester Wisniewski, researcher at Sophos security company, explains:
“Because we now store our entire identity in our phones, laptops and computers, once that device is compromised, it can unlock everything”.
Swindlers tend to use traditional pressure tactics to force victims to pay immediately. Unfortunately, these tactics often work very well. While scammers previously requested payment in the form of iTunes gift cards because of their high reseller value, they have now turned to BTC and other altcoins.
Global News Canada reported an incident in March in which citizen Bernie Townsend, a local Albertan, was tricked by an individual posing as a CRA agent. Townsend reported that things got particularly strange when he was told he couldn't go to Canada Place with a check that time but had to deposit the supposed tax money at a Bitcoin ATM.
Official reports estimate that approximately 111 people have been victims of the CRA's impersonation scam. This is in a period that is reported to run from January 1, 2017 through February 26, 2018, reflecting losses from these scams of up to $311,736.21. So the Bitcoin CRA scam has been multifaceted.
In the 2017 period in Canada it was reported that more than 75% of the money lost was sent via Bitcoin. Police forces agree that scammers are using Bitcoin as their preferred medium of exchange, as its pseudo-anonymous nature makes it more difficult for police to track and investigate.