Good News at Last!

We finally have some good news in the fight against spammers and scammers!    If you have a phone, you’ve probably received a call pretending to be from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) stating that you owe them money and an arrest warrant is pending.  If you’ve read my articles, you’d know straight away this is a scam, however thousands of people across Canada have been caught out by this and have lost money.

A recent CBC investigative article highlighted how most of the bad guys behind this scam were located in India – outside of the jurisdiction of the RCMP.   Or so they thought, until the RCMP went to India!

That’s right – the RCMP, in cooperation with the FBI reached out to Indian police and over the last couple of weeks have been working together to catch these scammers!

Together they’ve been tracing and then busting these illegal call centers.   In just one of these operations, they managed to arrest 28 people who were actively targeting vulnerable Canadians.  They also seized computers and equipment which were being used to make the fake calls and then con victims into sending money.

In one of the raids, police found records of over 600 Canadians who had fallen victim of the scheme and had lost money.   The RCMP are now trying to trace each of them in order to reimburse them – if they can.   Sgt Peter Payne, head of financial crimes at the RCMP told CBC News “We’re going to try our best efforts to do it, but I can’t make any guarantees”.

The raids targeted call centers in Noida, a suburb of the capital New Delhi.    Chief Ajay Pai Sharma told CBC “This is just the beginning, more illegal call centres are running in the city, which will be busted soon. We will be conducting more raids.”

Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg.   There are many of these illegal call centers based across India, and they’re getting smarter.   They’re moving between premises more often and are trying to keep one step ahead of the police raids.   It’s believed that some of the call centers are even operating with police approval due to corruption and bribery, making it even more difficult to track them down!

Around the same time a couple of years ago 70 people at call centres employing over 700 people in India had been arrested over similar scams.  It’s a lucrative business, and new scammers are quick to fill the void as others are captured.

In June this year, the scammers took things a step further and actually turned up at an address in Victoria demanding money.   They’d previously placed calls stating that money was owing and then appeared one day with handcuffs, threatening arrest if the victim didn’t pay up right away!   Thankfully the victim slammed the door in their face and called the RCMP!

Let’s hope that this recent international cooperation and increased effort to track down and arrest those behind these illicit call centres will send the message out that enough is enough.   Those arrested in the recent raids were paraded in front of the cameras to show that police are now taking action and are actively hunting for more illegal call centres.

Sgt Payne said to CBC “We’re going to work jointly, collaboratively to take you down”.

Until that happens, be on the lookout for these scammers and don’t fall for their tactics!