Skip to main content

A mass police arrest in India has broken up an international fraud ring that conned Canadians into paying up to $100-million toward phony tax bills, according to the RCMP.

Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS

A mass police arrest in India has broken up an international fraud ring that conned Canadians into paying up to $100-million toward phony tax bills, according to the RCMP.

On Oct. 5, Indian authorities rounded up 70 people in Thane, India, suspected of running an expansive call-centre racket that perpetrated a notorious scam involving fake Internal Revenue Agency calls to U.S. citizens.

The arrests have now proven to have a Canadian twist.

Story continues below advertisement

Since the bust, a Canadian version of the scam – this one using fake calls from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) – has unexpectedly disappeared, the RCMP announced on Friday.

"After the police operation in Thane, the RCMP observed that the number of reports related to the CRA scam had significantly decreased to a small fraction of what was reported for the weeks and months leading up to these arrests," the Mounties stated in a press release.

Since January of 2014, at least 1,900 Canadians have been duped by calls from people claiming to work for the CRA.

The imposters tell their victims they owe a large debt to the federal tax-collection agency and demand immediate payment by credit card, wire transfer or iTunes gift cards.

The callers threaten the victims, saying that any failure to pay the back taxes will result in jail time.

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre has received reports from victims of losses totalling $5.7-million. The organization has estimated that this represents just 5 per cent of the total losses in this country.

In all, nearly 40,000 people reported getting the calls.

Story continues below advertisement

Other versions of the scam involve imposters claiming to represent Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada as well as various police agencies.

The Mounties are now searching for Canadian accomplices involved in the international fraud ring.

According to police in Mumbai, at least 700 people worked in the call centres, which netted more than $150,000 (U.S.) a day.

Officers seized computers, servers and other equipment in raids. Police charged the alleged ringleaders with extortion, impersonation and violations of the country's information-technology laws.

An FBI cybercrime expert is working on the ground in Thane to share evidence, according to the Indian broadcaster NDTV.

Indian police are scouring the country for 23-year-old Sagar Thakkar, also known as "Shaggy," the alleged mastermind of the multimillion-dollar racket.

Story continues below advertisement

With a report from The Associated Press

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter
To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies