The CBC reports that a 23-year-old server, lost $4,000 to the “SIN scam,” a new version of the Canada Revenue Agency fraudulent act that’s been used for years to dupe people out of their money.
It all started two weeks ago when the victim got a terrifying call from Service Canada telling her that her social insurance number had been compromised. The caller identified himself as RCMP investigator Steve Rogers.
The caller told her a car rented in her name had been discovered abandoned in south Toronto with blood residue on the seats and 10 kilograms of cocaine inside.
The “officer,” who gave her a badge number and a case number, told her that her name and social insurance number were involved in a drug and money-laundering investigation.
When she questioned the officer’s story, he called her back from a different phone number. The caller ID showed up as belonging to the Cornwall RCMP. She looked for the number on Google and it seemed legitimate.S
In September, the RCMP warned Cornwall residents their phone number was being “spoofed” — used fraudulently to make it look as if scammers were calling from the local detachment.
“Steve Rogers” told the woman the RCMP would take care of getting her a new SIN, but to protect her money, she had to transfer her savings to secure gift cards. (This is the first hint that this is a scam-Joe I)
He instructed her to drive to grocery stores and pharmacies across Cornwall to buy up Google Play gift cards, all the while staying on the line to make sure she did what she was told.
After several purchases, her debit card was declined, so the caller told her to go to her bank and withdraw all the cash she had left to buy more gift cards. When she’d done that, he ordered Baker to call the bank to increase her credit limit, then buy yet more gift cards.
“This went on for four and a half hours,” the victim said. In that time, she spent $4,000 to buy 35 gift cards.
Caller ID can’t be trusted as a means of filtering out scam calls, he said. The biggest tip-off is if the caller behaves in a threatening manner.
“The government’s never going to call you and threaten you into sending money, they’re not going to ask for your personal information over the phone in an unsolicited fashion, in an alarming, scary fashion,” a RCMP spokesman said.