Law Enforcement Impersonation Scams
There are a number of active scams in which a fraudster poses as an authority figure to try to scare victims into complying with their demands. This can involve individuals posing as border officials, police officers, Canada Revenue Agency Agents, immigration officers, etc. and these scams are designed to frighten you and for you to engage with the fraudster on an urgent basis out of fear (without pausing to consider the likelihood or appropriateness of what you are being accused of).
An actual law enforcement or legitimate government official will never fault you for verifying their identity before you engage with them. Hang up, look them up through a legitimate resource and call them back if they appear to be legitimate.
Types of Impersonation Scams
Scam 1: Return to Sender
- The Victim receives an automated call from a delivery company about a package. It connects to a per-son claiming to work for a delivery company.
- The Victim is “transferred” to the police and is then told a package addressed to them, containing illegal goods, has been intercepted.
- The Victim is told they face arrest and deportation for their involvement. The Victim is told that they have an opportunity to pay a fine to avoid jail/deportation.
Scam 2: “Laundry Card”
- The Victim receives a call from a person claiming to work for police.
- The Victim is told that their bank card has been used in a money laundering scheme and their accounts are going to be locked.
- The Victim is told they must help with the investigation to clear their name and are told to withdraw the money from their accounts and deposit it to a “secure system” via Bitcoin while the investigation continues.
- The Victim is told this money will be returned at the end of the investigation.
Scam 3: Taxpayer or Canada Revenue Agency
- A scammer contacts the Victim claiming to be an employee of either the Canada Revenue Agency or Service Canada.
- They state that the Victim:
- has a compromised SIN number
- has an outstanding case against you
- owe back taxes
- has unpaid balances
- committed a financial crime
- They threaten that if the Victim does not speak to them immediately, they’ll be arrested, fined, or even deported.
- The scammers may request payment via money service businesses, pre‐paid cards/gift cards (iTunes, Google Play or Steam cards) or Bitcoin.
Scam 4: Telephone calls targeting the Asian Community
The Asian community in Canada is being targeted with automated calls claiming to have an urgent message from sources such as:
- the Beijing police
- the Chinese consulate
- a delivery agency
These calls can be very intimidating and threatening.
The scam calls vary, but generally they claim customs intercepted a letter or package in your name, and implicate you in the fraud. For example, the message may state that customs stopped a suspicious package containing many bank cards and you are the subject of an investigation.