Your daughter will be kidnapped today’: Phone scam targets new Canadians with threats of deportation

January 4, 2016

By Ashley Csanady, The Province |

Just as Canada welcomes thousands of new refugees, the RCMP is again warning about a phone scam targeting new Canadians.

The calls often start out innocently enough, with someone saying they are from Citizenship and Immigration Canada — now ministry of immigration, refugees and citizenship — and asking for information about a new Canadian. But they quickly escalate to threats of deportation and kidnapping if the recipient doesn’t comply and send a money order immediately.

The callers are often very persistent and keep potential victims on the phone with escalating threats, saying they or their family could be immediately deported or arrested if they don’t comply.

“What makes this worst is that many victims never report these incidents to the police. If you, a friend or family member has either received a call from a fraudster, or has lost money through this type of call, please report it,” the RCMP release states.

Reports of these fake calls first stared emerging last March, amid the debate over bill C-24, which made it legal to deport Canadians with dual citizenship if convicted of certain, extreme crimes. The new Liberal government has promised to soon repeal that law, but it created a concern these fraudsters seek to exploit. In June, the National Post spoke with a Toronto woman who believed the calls were a direct result of the uncertainty that law created.

A man in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, was recently contacted by one such scam, according to the Southwest Newcomer Welcome Centre. Instead of paying up, he contacted the centre who helped him debunk the fraud.

In the RCMP’s sample call, a young mother called Tauyna tells the caller she lives alone with her daughter. He becomes ever aggressive, saying she owes $12,000 and faces arrest and possible deportation. She then says she’s going to call the police, to which the fraudster responds: Do you know where your daughter is now?

Taunya asks, “Pardon me? Is that a threat?”

“No, but your daughter will be kidnapped today,” the impostor adds before hanging up.

It’s a similar scheme to another long-running phone scam in Canada, where someone pretends to be from the Canada Revenue Agency and demands immediate back payment. That so-called CRA scam has been around for years and it follows a similar pattern. Real government and police numbers are often “spoofed” — meaning a caller uses a computer program to make the recipient’s call display see a real number. The fake caller becomes increasingly insistent and threatening as the call goes on and often asks for money orders, sometimes to American bank accounts or post office boxes.

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