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RCMP warn against CRA Bitcoin Scam

Coquitlam (September 20, 2019) – RCMP warn against the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Bitcoin Scam. The Coquitlam Mounties state that the complaints about phone calls of fraudsters posing as CRA employees demanding immediate payment in bitcoin has increased fourfold. They remind the public, the CRA or any other government agency ‘will never ask for payment in Bitcoin’.

In the past month, the Coquitlam RCMP recognized an upswing in reported CRA Bitcoin Scams. In a press release from September 17, the Mounties warn the public against fraudulent phone calls where the scammer claims to be a CRA employee or a police officer. During the call, the fraudsters would threaten with imprisonment unless the possible victim makes a payment in cryptocurrency.

Corporal Michael McLaughlin explains that ‘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.’ They are especially targeting people who are more vulnerable to this kind of scam such as elderly or new Canadians.

‘We need to educate our family and friends because if these callers reach them first, the money is most likely unrecoverable’, McLaughlin urges. The authorities remind that the CRA or any other government agency ‘will never ask for payment in Bitcoin’. Additionally, the CRA informs on their website about ongoing scams and advises people who receive a similar call to ask themselves ‘Why is the caller pressuring me to act immediately? Am I certain the caller is a CRA employee?’

The RCMP give the following recommendation to protect yourself from the CRA Bitcoin Scam:

  • If you ever get a feeling that you’re being scammed, get off the phone. Take a few minutes to think about it.
  • If any government agency calls to say you owe money, get their contact information. Consult someone trustworthy before you pay any money.
  • The CRA will never demand immediate payment in Bitcoin, prepaid credit cards, or gift cards.
  • The CRA never uses text messages or instant messaging to communicate with taxpayers.

Victims of fraud should call their local police and give a report to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by calling 1-888-495-8501 or go to their website. The Coquitlam RCMP non-emergency line can be reached at 604-945-1550.