Scammers Targeting Taxpayers

MAY 31, 2018

Tis the season once again for Tax Scammers.  With fraudulent emails and phone calls purporting to be from the Canada Revenue Agency again this year, it is extremely important for you to protect yourself and your personal information.

Following is a list of some indicators that a phone call, voicemail message or email is NOT from the Canada Revenue Agency:

·         The call is automated, ie. a recorded message or robot rather than a live person.  DO NOT return the phone call.

·         The person calling does not ask for you or a member of your household specifically by name. This means they do not know who they are calling. CRA WILL ask, or leave a message, for a specific person.

·         The person calling uses threats of lawsuits or claims that the RCMP are on their way to arrest you in an attempt to get you to comply with their demands.  You will receive written notice from the CRA long before you will be in legal trouble with  the tax department.

·         The person calling requests that you purchase gift cards or use prepaid credit cards or Bitcoin to pay a debt owing.  CRA will NEVER ask for prepaid credit/gift cards or Bitcoin to pay an amount owing.  You can pay amounts owing to the CRA by cheque (mail or drop in the secure box located at your local TSO), cash or withdrawal at your bank or even online from your bank’s website, but NEVER with prepaid credit cards, gift cards or crypto currency, and NEVER via an email link.

·         You receive an email that contains links or requires you to provide personal or financial information.  The CRA will only send an email containing links if you have requested a form or specific information, in which case, they will send the email while you are on the phone with them.

If you are still unsure whether or not it is the Canada Revenue Agency that has contacted you, there is a way to confirm whether or not a call is authentic.  Simply ask the person calling to provide you with their agent ID number and contact information.  Keep in mind that scammers have the ability to “spoof” phone numbers in order to hide the origin of the call and make it appear more legitimate. 

Once they have provided you with their information, you can call the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) at 1-800-959-8281 and ask for confirmation that the agent ID number is authentic and to verify which department the person was calling from.