Fresh off a Burnaby man fleeing to China to avoid accusations of participating in the notorious “CRA scam” comes a local man saying he got duped by the ruse in an unrelated incident.
The caller was claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency about taxes being owed and they exerted pressure – a common warning sign.
“I got confused because I was taught to respect authority and was worried about angering the CRA,” the North Burnaby senior, who didn’t want their name used, told the NOW. “I thought I was doing the right thing, but I got duped. I followed along and it stung me. It’s really embarrassing.
Cherolle Prince, a financial crimes expert at KPMG, says you want to trust, but verify you really are dealing with the CRA before you give out any information.
"Ask the right questions to yourself, does this call make sense," she said. "Why does the CRA need that information? Have I provided that to them already? What would they be doing with that information and why do they need it now?"
Prince says a red flag may be if the caller is asking for information over the phone that CRA should already have if they are calling you.
"Yes the CRA may ask you questions, but they aren't going to call you and ask for personal information. If you call them, they may ask for personal information as a way to identify you, it is part of their authentication protocol, but they would not call you for that information," she said.
This comes on the heels of a 27-year-old Burnaby resident being charged in relation to an “elaborate” telemarketing scam that bilked seven victims of a total of nearly $200,000, according to police.
The charges stem from a multijurisdictional fraud investigation launched in June 2019 by the B.C. RCMP’s federal financial integrity team.
The investigation targeted interprovincial and transnational crime groups that were reaching out to unsuspecting Canadians and pretending to be representatives of the Canada Revenue Agency, banks, police investigators or software companies, according to a recent RCMP news release.
The victims were instructed to send the scammers cash via courier companies, the release said.
Haoran Xue, also known as Charlie Xue, has now been charged with fraud, theft, identity theft, possession of property obtained by crime, dealing with identity documents without lawful excuse, personation with intent to gain advantage, and multiple counts of uttering forged documents.
The approval of the charges demonstrates the “fulfilment of duty to combat this complex fraud network, which operates with a sense of impunity and in a borderless nature,” according to Supt. Brent Taylor, the officer in charge of the financial integrity section of B.C. RCMP’s serious and organized crime unit.
“Too often those who perpetrate these types of crimes remain anonymous,” Taylor said in the release.
Xue fled Canada in August 2019 for China, according to police, and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.
B.C.'s director of civil forfeiture filed a claim in B.C. Supreme Court in November 2019, seeking the forfeiture of a Burnaby house associated with Xue at 7318 4th St.
The director claims the property was “the proceeds and an instrument of unlawful activity” and belonged to Xue even though his father, who lives in China, was the registered owner.
Xue’s father, Zenggang Xue, has since sold the property, and the proceeds are being held by the court, to stand in the place of the property, until the civil forfeiture claim is resolved, according to a media relations officer with the ministry of public safety and solicitor general.
- With additional reporting by Cornelia Naylor and the Canadian Press