A Vancouver server has fallen victim to a new twist on a scam that falsely involves the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
And now she’s warning others, especially those who work in the service industry.
Scams oriented around the CRA usually involve people contacting taxpayers, claiming they work for the agency and demanding they hand over money or personal information.
This new twist has fraudsters demanding that funds be transferred in Bitcoin.
Coverage of CRA scams on Globalnews.ca:
“I should have questioned, but this whole thing takes you over. You feel brainwashed,” Sam Dempsey told Global News.
The 24-year-old restaurant worker recently moved to Vancouver from Toronto.
Dempsey said she has someone else file her taxes. But she grew concerned when she received a call from Kingston, Ont., claiming she hadn’t filed them properly.
“Any server or anyone who receives tips as an income, worry they are not properly claiming their taxes,” Dempsey said.
Threatening her with jail time and tens of thousands of dollars in penalty fees, Dempsey said the fraudster, who posed as a CRA employee, instructed her to withdraw thousands of dollars from her bank account and convert it to Bitcoin at a downtown Vancouver coffee shop.
“I felt I was held hostage over the phone. It left me in shock. Just helpless,” said Dempsey.
She lost $8,000 in the scam.
“I worked so hard. To see that money coming out of the machine, knowing that I put it into another machine [Bitcoin terminal] is traumatizing,” Dempsey said.
North Vancouver RCMP have also issued a warning after a resident recently lost thousands to a Bitcoin CRA scam.
RCMP said the victim was directed by an alleged CRA employee and told to make the payment by using a Bitcoin terminal.
A transfer of $3,000 was made by the victim to a Bitcoin reference code number supplied by the fraudster.
“It’s a universal system that is non-traceable even for police. Once that money is sent, it could be anywhere, to anybody and you are not getting it back,” said North Vancouver RCMP Cpl. Richard De Jong.
He added: “Tax time is soon upon us and scam artists will use creative, criminal means to defraud you of your hard earned money. CRA will not contact you by phone and threaten or coerce you into paying a tax bill.”