Woman who reported kidnapping in CRA scam exaggerated claims

While she was defrauded of several thousand dollars, the victim had no contact with men posing as police officers

Vancouver police have confirmed that the victim in the Canada Revenue Agency scam reported Thursday exaggerated her claims.

Media relations officer Const. Jason Doucette said that at no time was she physically approached by people claiming to be police officers.

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On Thursday, Vancouver police issued a public warning after a 58-year-old woman said she received a phone call from someone claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency. She was told that she owed several thousand dollars in taxes and then two men posing as police officers showed up and arrested her. She withdrew $6,000 from a bank at Cambie Street and West Kind Edward Avenue before the fake officers drove her to a bitcoin machine in a coffee shop in Surrey near the Gateway SkyTrain station.

Doucette said the woman was convinced to withdraw the money and deposit in the bitcoin machine in Surrey by the person on the phone, but she was never approached by anyone in person.

“This CRA scam was no different than other telephone scams reported in the past,” he said in a press release.

“Based on the seriousness of the information originally reported by the victim, a team of Major Crime investigators were reassigned to focus on and prioritize this incident,” Doucette said Friday. “Detectives confirmed this morning that the victim was embarrassed for falling for the scam and panicked, deciding to exaggerate her story to include fake police,” he said, adding that officers will continue investigating the incident.

Police stress that the CRA will not threaten people with arrest, send the police to collect funds, or accept bitcoin and gift cards as payment.

Anyone who has been a victim of a CRA scam, or any crime, is encouraged to make a report with their local police.

@JessicaEKerr

jkerr@vancourier.com

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