ONTARIO — Another alleged “money mule” has been charged in connection with transnational telephone fraudsters, including one of the most hated scams to ever bedevil Canadians from the other end of a phone line.
In addition to those infamous callers pretending to be Canada Revenue Agency agents, the RCMP has also linked 22-year-old Naman Grover of Mississauga to the so-called bank investigator and tech support scams.
A Canada-wide arrest warrant has been issued for Grover, although the RCMP says it has information he may have left Canada recently. Grover faces Criminal Code charges of fraud over $5,000; possession of proceeds of crime; and laundering proceeds of crime.
The charges follow an investigation started in October 2018 by the RCMP’s Greater Toronto Area Financial Crime section. Project OCTAVIA uncovered money mules and their managers operating out of Canada in support of the India-based criminal organization that has been targeting the public since 2014.
Money mules serve as boots on the ground in Canada to receive victim funds and then launder the scam proceeds. And in many cases, says the RCMP, these individuals are here on student visas — either recruited before coming to Canada or after their arrival.
The RCMP concedes that, despite a number of police raids on illegal call centres in India, Canadians continue to be victimized by this serious, cyber-enabled, financial crime. Between 2014 and 2020, the CRA scam alone has resulted in reported victim losses of more than $18 million. Victims have been taken for over $35 million dollars combined when the other two scams are included in the total.
Below … And the CRA scammers just keep going and going. Nation Valley News happened to record their initial, ominous call with a warning to contact the “CRA” at such and such a number in February 2018. The robotic pitch amusingly includes reference to getting an “attorney.” So we returned the call and this was the outcome.
“The RCMP and our many partners continue to work together to dismantle these criminal organizations. Money mules are a crucial component of this complex scam as they facilitate the flow of victims’ funds to members of these illicit organizations,” said Inspector Jim Ogden, Officer in Charge of the Greater Toronto Area Financial Crime Section at the RCMP’s Toronto West detachment in Milton. “Arrests and charges send a clear and important message — those who get involved as money mules will be arrested, criminally charged and prosecuted. Taking part in the illegal activities of these criminal organizations has other serious consequences, including revocation of student visas.”
The work of Project OCTAVIA continues and further arrests and charges are anticipated, according to the RCMP.
In the meantime, police advise that if someone on the phone is asking for your personal or banking information, hang up and report the activity to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. If the caller is threatening you or your family, hang up and contact your local police. If you receive an e-mail or text message making suspicious tax claims and urging you to click on a link to submit information, don’t interact and report the occurrence to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, through its website at www.antifraudcentre.ca, or by telephone at 1-888-495-8501.