Vernon resident out thousands after 'CRA' demands Bitcoin payment - InfoNews

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Vernon resident out thousands after 'CRA' demands Bitcoin payment

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January 22, 2018 - 2:24 PM

VERNON - A Vernon resident is out $11,000 after being duped by a new scam.

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP spokesperson Const. Kelly Brett says in a news release that on Jan. 18, the victim received an email and phone call from an alleged employee of the Canada Revenue Agency.

The caller told the victim he owed the agency $11,000 in unpaid taxes, and if it wasn't paid immediately he would go to jail, Brett says.

He was told the police would show up at his home if he hung up or did not pay the money.

Brett says the victim was instructed to make the payment that day by using a Bitcoin terminal. A transfer of $11,000 was made by the victim to a Bitcoin reference number given by the scammer. After the transfer was made, Brett says, the victim realized he had been scammed and headed to the police detachment.

"Unfortunately this victim realized he was being scammed a little too late and police were not able to assist in the retrieval of his funds," Brett says. "Tax season is upon us and there has been a significant increase in these types of scams. The scam artists will gain your confidence, leading you to believe that you will be penalized by police if the money is not paid immediately."

Canada Revenue Agency will not contact you by phone or email and threaten or coerce you into paying a tax bill, nor will it divulge your information to others or leave personal information on an answering machine or voicemail. The agency does not accept Bitcoin or gift cards as payment.

Brett says she hopes each person who reads this shares it with five friends or family through text or social media to better educate the public.

If you want to confirm the CRA has contacted you, call them at 1 800-959-8281 for individual concerns or 1 800-959-5525 for business-related calls.

For more on fraud prevention, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website, or the B.C. RCMP website.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ashley Legassic or call 250-319-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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