CRA scam gets $8,000 in iTunes cards from Burnaby resident

It’s a common scam that’s been making the rounds for years, but the most recent incident of an imposter posing as a tax agency rep provided an unfortunate new twist for one Burnaby resident.

And the nature of the scam has Burnaby Mounties warning the public before another person falls victim.

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Police got a call Thursday night from a woman in North Burnaby. She received a call from a man claiming to be with the Canadian Revenue Agency, who told her she owed money and if she didn’t pay, she’d be cuffed and thrown in jail.

In this case, the caller wanted $8,000 worth of iTunes cards. So the victim ended up purchasing 16 cards worth $500 each.

Police believe the victim gave the caller the activation numbers to the cards. By the time Mounties were called, the money had been spent.     

“It’s really sad,” said RCMP Staff Sgt. Maj. John Buis. “It’s sad to say that people are taking advantage of other people’s goodwill.”

He said it’s the first time local RCMP have come across the scam involving iTunes cards, suggesting it may have originated in Eastern Canada.

“A lot of times those scams, they wear out their welcome in a certain area, and then they try somewhere else,” he said.

Police also provided the number that the woman was called from - 613-686-3104 - in an effort to warn the public.

An internet search found the number has been flagged on several websites by a number of people for being involved in a CRA scam.

Buis said investigators will try to track down the culprit through Apple, which operates iTunes, but suggested solving these types of crimes can be difficult. The scammer could be calling from anywhere.

He said the best thing for people to do is not answer if they get a call from the number. Buis also noted the CRA doesn’t threaten to arrest people if they owe taxes.   

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