Julia-Shea Baker, a 23-year-old server, lost $4,000 to the “SIN scam,” a new version of the Canada Revenue Agency scam that fraudsters have been using to dupe people out of their money.
It all started two weeks ago when Baker got a terrifying call from Service Canada telling her her social insurance number had been compromised. The caller identified himself as RCMP investigator Steve Rogers.
The caller told her a car rented in her name had been discovered abandoned in south Toronto with blood residue on the seats and 10 kilograms of cocaine inside. “Steve Rogers” told Baker the RCMP would take care of getting her a new SIN, but in order to protect her money she had to transfer her savings to secure gift cards.
He instructed her to drive to grocery stores and pharmacies across Cornwall to buy up Google Play gift cards, all the while staying on the line to make sure she did what she was told.
After several purchases her debit card was declined, so the caller told her to go to her bank and withdraw all the cash she had left to buy more gift cards. When she’d done that, he ordered Baker to call the bank to increase her credit limit, then buy yet more gift cards.
“Steve Rogers” told her he would call her back at 9 a.m. the following day to arrange to give her a new SIN, but he never called. When she called the original number back, the person who answered didn’t speak English.
That’s when she went to her local police station and learned she’d been scammed. By then, the money was already gone.
Police say it’s an adaptation of the Canada Revenue Agency scam that became prevalent a few years ago. As people got wise to the fraud, the scammers changed tactics.
Some victims give personal details to the callers, allowing them to steal their identities, while others are tricked into sending money, Thomson said.
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