Canada Revenue Agency and police again warned taxpayers of randomly targeted fraudulent telephone calls and e-mails that are being sent out as CRA fraud. These phone calls and e-mails are not from the CRA.
Annually the number of CRA fraud scams rise near the April 30th tax deadline.
The phone call scams are imposters trying to scare and threaten tax payers into paying fictitious debt. Some of these imposters will even threaten taxpayers by claiming that the police will arrest them shortly if these debts are not paid. People were being asked for personal information such as their social insurance, credit card, bank account and passport numbers. You can find general guidelines on what the CRA will do and will not do here. This link also provides several examples of fraudulent letters, emails and text messages so that taxpayers may be informed about what to look for. The best response to these calls is to ignore the callers and report them to the RCMP.
The fictitious e-mails generally notify taxpayers that they are entitled to a refund. These e-mails are also trying to coerce personal information such as banking, credit card and passport information. The e-mails are asking for information directly or they provide a link to a fictitious website asking a taxpayer to input the sensitive information. Suspicious e-mails can be reported to email@example.com
The CRA has provided the following guidelines to help avoid these CRA fraud scams.
- NEVER requests information from a taxpayer about a passport, health card, or driver’s license.
- NEVER divulges taxpayer information to another person unless formal authorization is provided by the taxpayer.
- NEVER leaves any personal information on an answering machine or asks taxpayers to leave a message with their personal information on an answering machine.
When in doubt, ask yourself the following:
- Am I expecting additional money from the CRA?
- Does this sound too good to be true?
- Is the requester asking for information I would not include with my tax return?
- Is the requester asking for information I know the CRA already has on file for me?
- How did the requester get my email address or telephone number?
- Am I confident I know who is asking for the information?
- Is there a reason that the CRA may be calling? Do I have a tax balance outstanding?
Should you wish to verify the authenticity of a CRA telephone number or other communication, you should get the agent number of the person who is calling and then contact CRA directly at 1-800-959-8281.
To get more information about security and possible CRA fraud scams go to www.cra.gc.ca/security.
If you would like to register with CRA for legitimate online mail read our article on how to sign up.
If you would like more information or have any questions, feel free to contact us at 780.466.6204, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to Shannon Warara of KWB Chartered Accountants for providing this article.