Fraud Prevention Month
Protect Your Identity! A reminder to all Canadians to beware of telephone calls, mail, or email that claim to be from the CRA but are not. Canadians should especially beware of phishing scams asking for their personal information, such as a social insurance number, credit card, bank account, and passport numbers. Some of these scams ask for this personal information directly, and others refer the taxpayer to a Web site resembling the CRA's where the person is asked to verify their identity by entering personal information. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre advises consumers not to open unsolicited emails or when the sender is unknown.
The supposed CRA agent will typically attempt to:
- gather personal information from the victim, or
- intimidate victims to provide financial payment of an outstanding tax bill.
Victims are often threatened to be arrested within the hour and have their assets seized if they do not immediately comply with the fraudster’s demands.
Letter or Email Scam
The letter or email states that there is money to be claimed by the victim from the CRA, and that all that is required is for the victim to provide certain information so that their file can be "updated" and the monies released. It asks for the information to be faxed or emailed to them, and provides a fax number.
The fraudsters are looking to gain identity and banking information from the victim so bank accounts can be accessed through false pretenses.
Prevention Tip: Unless you have called CRA for a form or a link to specific information, do not click on any link in an e-mail pretending to be from the CRA
Victims often receive a phone call from a person claiming to work for the CRA who says that taxes are owed. The suspect usually requests immediate payment by credit card or will convince the victim to purchase a prepaid credit card and demand that they call the suspect back immediately with the information. The taxpayer is often threatened with court charges, jail or even deportation.
Prevention Tip: Hang up immediately if there’s anything suspicious or unprofessional about the call.
Follow these important safety tips and share with everyone you know
- CRA never threatens you with immediate arrest, use abusive language or send police.
- CRA never request personal information, of any kind, by email.
- CRA never divulge any of your information, of any kind, to another unless formal authorization is provided by you.
- CRA leave any personal information on an answering machine
- CRA never sends out text messages.
- CRA never asks you to click on any link to get a refund or to collect personal or financial information.
- CRA never request a payment by:
- Interac e-transfer,
- online currency such as bitcoin,
- pre-paid credit cards or pre-paid gift cards such as iTunes, Home Depot, etc..
If you are not sure if a message is from the CRA, confirm your tax status directly with the CRA
- online through secure portals such as My Account,
- or by calling 1-800-959-8281
Details on one of the more recent scams can be found on the RCMP website. The CRA has well-established practices to protect the confidentiality of taxpayer information. Never provide personal information over the phone or email. Keep your SIN,access codes, user ID, passwords and PINs secret. For a list of other measures to consider to protect your identy check out the CRA website section on fraud prevention.
Another resource to learn how to better recognize scams, report deceptive telemarketing, and if personal or financial information has been unwittingly provided, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police website has tips for you. Anyone who receives a suspicious communication should immediately report it to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-888-495-8501.