Police: CRA fraudsters arrogant, determined as scam on the rise again

The RCMP says that despite their efforts to spread the word, the CRA scam is picking up speed again this year. 

A news release out Tuesday warns of fraudulent phone calls coming from someone who poses as a police officer, demanding the person pay an amount owed in personal taxes. Police say the caller threatens with an arrest warrant if the amount is not paid. 

The CRA scam started about four years ago, and Sgt. John Mecher with the RCMP's financial crimes unit says activity dropped significantly in late 2016 after arrests made in India. He says, though, the scam is once again on the rise. 

"If they continue, it will be their most profitable year yet," Sgt. Mecher says, "which is very disconcerting."

He says their biggest challenge is making sure everyone knows the scams exist. 

"They will continue until we figure out some way to reach everybody," he says. "That remains to be the Holy Grail of these types of frauds."

Another challenge for police, he says, is that the fraudsters are often overseas out of their reach. They also continue to change the pitch they give and the way they transfer money, recently shifting to the use of cryptocurrencies. 

Sgt. Mecher says they have gone as far as to call him, posing as the IRS, claiming that he was impeding an investigation when he told a victim not to pay up. 

"It shows how determined these individuals are, and how arrogant," he says. "The fact that they think they can actually win that conversation, it is borderline insane."

Police are asking the public to spread the word about the CRA scam with family members and friends. ​