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News & Updates
News & Updates
January 15, 2016
Local residents targeted in Canada Revenue Agency phone scam
Dawn Holman understands why some people in the area have fallen victim to a phone scam from a person claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency.
The Stratford woman received a threatening call Friday from someone who said she owed $4,200 in back taxes from as long as six years ago.
“They’re really intimidating,” said Holman, describing how the caller read her rights to her and later claimed that police were on the way to pick her up when she refused to pay.
“I just want to warn people. I’d certainly hate to see people pay money they don’t have to pay.”
Holman was confident almost immediately that the call was a scam, but admitted that even she was unsettled by it and that “probably older people are going to freak right out and wonder if they’ve done something wrong.”
Holman called the Canada Revenue Agency and was told that they don’t contact people by phone or email. They send notices by regular mail.
The CRA agent she spoke to also identified himself with an ID number, which the scam caller did not.
Holman also made a call to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and was told that dozens of people have reported the same number, which appears to originate from the Ottawa area with a 613 area code, but is almost certainly coming from out of the country.
Stratford Police and other surrounding police services have all sent out multiple warnings about the scam, which seems to be bombarding the area over the last few weeks.
Residents in Stratford, Mitchell, Tavistock and Listowel have all reported receiving the rude and demanding calls. In some instances, individuals have given the caller their social insurance number, which can be a vital piece of information in identity theft.
“These types of calls are designed to create anxiety and complete shock for the unsuspecting resident, resulting in personal and financial information being disclosed,” area OPP said in a media statement. “Police are reminding all residents to be extremely vigilant when receiving phone calls from someone claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency or a police service inquiring about personal information and demanding payment on behalf of the CRA.”
Irvin Leroux’s two-decade long, multi-million dollar battle with the Canada Revenue Agency came to an end in B.C. Supreme Court today. Both sides have reached a deal, as the 72-year-old Leroux has agreed to pay $10 towards the CRA’s legal fees.
“I can honestly say I’m pleased that it’s over, but I’m disappointed at the results,” said Leroux.
Leroux’s story goes back almost 20 years, when the Prince George businessman was audited by the CRA in 1996. The government concluded he owed $1 million, but Leroux said he did nothing wrong, and that he wasn’t paying.
“They took out a writ to seize and sell all my assets,” he said when Global News first reported on Leroux years ago.
“You can go through the system, but they’ll bury you, they’ll eat you alive. The average taxpayer does not have the funds to fight,” said Leroux.
Even though Leroux was unsuccessful in getting the CRA to pay him millions in financial losses, he is hailed as a bit of Canadian hero.
“Mr. Leroux has blazed a trail for us when it comes to what the CRA owes every taxpayer that they audit, that they work with. To him, we owe him a debt of gratitude,” said Jordan Bateman, B.C. Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
Gratitude because in 2014, a judge ruled the CRA was essentially negligent and owed Leroux a duty of care, even though the court ruled against awarding him money for his losses.
“This court case is of particular importance because it gives the public a tool to hold the government to account for that kind of behaviour,” said Terry Gill, a tax lawyer.
Today, after two years of Leroux fighting that 2014 case, the Supreme Court made their final ruling.
The CRA did not return calls from Global News. As for Leroux, he walks away from this fight broke – but not broken.
“Never in the history of Revenue Canada have they been held to a duty of care where they have to get it right, that’s huge. Before they’d just run amok. They can’t do that anymore,” he said.
“I think what it shows is the little man can still make a difference.”
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