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Bitcoin latest evolution in CRA scams

Lloydminster RCMP are cautioning residents to be on the lookout for ever-evolving CRA phone scams.

On Monday, their counterparts in Strathcona County issued a warning about “Bitcoin CRA scams,” which is a new spin on the scam in which victims are contacted by phone and told that they have overdue taxes to pay. If they don’t, they’re told they’ll be arrested.

In this version, victims are told to withdraw cash from their bank account, deposit the cash into a Bitcoin ATM which converts the cash into Bitcoin, and then transfer the funds to the caller. Bitcoin is a “cryptocurrency” otherwise known as digital currency. Once that money is sent to a “digital wallet” it is impossible to recover.

Lloydminster RCMP Constable Grant Kirizinger says he is not surprised that CRA scams are evolving in this way. He says there are many things people need to look out for in these situations.

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“Make sure that they aren’t pushy, make sure that you can contact them back at a number that you can find from a reliable source, whether that be on the internet, the police or Phonebusters themselves. Make sure that what they are saying makes sense, if you even have bitcoin, if you’ve paid you’re taxes then you don’t need to worry about it. The CRA will not make a phone call to you demanding money.”

While Lloydminster doesn’t have a Bitcoin ATM at the moment, it is still available as digital currency and Kirizinger says police are keeping an eye on it.

“Whenever we have reports of crime no matter what type it be, whether it be electronic or actual physical crimes themselves it’s always something we’re adapting and changing to and making sure we’re staying addressed and current to.”

Kirizinger says if someone believes they are a victim of any type of fraud they should report it to the local police department or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre immediately, with as much detail as possible.

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