Our story yesterday about a housing scam prompted calls from our viewers about other scams, lots of them, including one called the Canada Revenue Agency scam, accusing people of tax fraud. Those who have received the calls say they are very convincing and because this is tax time, getting a call about taxes this time of year may not seem unusual.

Ottawa contractor Maroun Nasr is a wise businessman but even he was taken aback by how real this scam seemed.

“It sounded very professional and very scary with a deep voice,” says Nasr, “it was very scary when they called.”

It was an automated call, accusing him of tax fraud and requesting him to phone a 6-1-3 number back immediately or “face the consequences.”

“My name is Officer James Morrison,” as one caller identified himself, in a thick accent.

“And they also had a warrant to see my documentation and if I didn't call right away, I could suffer consequences.”

 A rattled Nasr contacted his accountant who told him the whole thing was a scam.

Staff Sergeant Stephanie Burns is with the Ottawa Police Fraud Unit, “It normally ramps up around this time of year because it’s tax time,” she says, “It’s called the CRA scam.”

Police say this scam cost Canadians $3 million dollars last year. The callers threaten their victims with legal action, even arrest if they don't call back and pay right away.

 “Within the next hour the police will be at your doorstep to handcuff you,” one caller said.

That scare prompted eight people in Victoria to show up at the police station.  Ottawa Police say there are several red flags to this scam.

“They (the CRA) will never send the RCMP or police; they don't work for the Canada Revenue Service.  And if there’s a problem with your taxes, you will get notified by letter mail.”

In fact, they recommend phoning the Canada Revenue Agency to see whether the call is real.  The CRA says you can verify that the employee works for the CRA or that the CRA did contact you by calling 1-800-959-8281 for individuals or 1-800-959-5525 for business. The Revenue Agency added:



The CRA will not:

The CRA may:

  • ask for information about your passport, health card, or driver's licence
  • validate your identity by asking for certain personal information, including your full name, date of birth, your address and, in the case of a business, details about your account
  • request personal information by email
  • notify you by email when new mail is available for you to view in CRA secure portals such as My Account, My Business Account or Represent a Client
  • email you a link requesting you fill in an online form with personal or financial details
  • email you a link to a CRA webpage, form, or publication in response to your telephone enquiry
  • send you a link to your refund by email or text message
  • send you a notice of assessment or re-assessment by mail or notify you by email when it is available to view in My Account, My Business Account, or Represent a Client
  • setup an in-person meeting in a public place to take a payment
  • ask for financial information such as the name of your bank and its location
  • demand immediate payment by prepaid credit card
  • request payment for a tax debt through any of the CRA’s payment options
  • threaten with immediate arrest or prison sentence
  • take legal action to recover the money you owe if you refuse to pay your debt


We trying contacting the number the scammer left Maroun Nasr but the number is no longer in service.  So, now it’s on to a new number but the same old scam.  Several people we spoke with at the Carlingwood Shopping Mall said they have heard of the scam and will not be duped.

“If I don’t know the number on the phone,” said one man, “I don’t answer.”

“I feel sorry for people who fall for it,” added a woman.

The CRA says it may call for tax reasons but will never threaten to arrest. 

If you receive this scam call, report it to police but first, just hang up. You can also contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online at www.antifraudcentre.ca or toll free at 1-888-495-8501