We routinely blog about CRA scams in the hopes that those most vulnerable will be aware of the problem and be able to avoid it should it come to pass. This week we thought it prudent to do so again, especially since, as tax season approaches, CRA scams seem to be getting worse. Scammers are developing new schemes on a daily basis in the hopes of relieving unsuspecting Canadians of their hard-earned money, relying on fear or the hopes of an unexpected refund to do the job.
For several years now, fraudsters have been tricking regular Canadians, both over the phone and via email, usually using scare tactics and the threat of jail time to get victims to comply.
The CRA notes that taxpayers should be vigilant when they receive, either by telephone, mail, text message or email, any communication that claims to be from the CRA requesting personal information such as a social insurance number, credit card number, bank account number, or passport number.
How can you tell if the communication is fraudulent? The CRA will never:
- send an email with a link and ask you to divulge personal or financial information
- ask for personal information of any kind by email or text message
- request payments by prepaid credit cards or gift cards
- give taxpayer information to another person, unless formal authorization is provided by the taxpayer
- leave personal information on your voicemail
The one exception is if you call the CRA to request a form or a link for specific information. Then, and only then, will a CRA agent forward the information you are requesting to your email during the telephone call. This is the only circumstance in which the CRA will send an email containing links.
If you have received a phone call or email that you believe to be fraudulent, never ever provide any information over the phone, no matter how innocent you may believe the disclosure to be, and contact the police right away. You should also report any deceptive communications to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online or by calling 1-888-495-8501.
To find out more about previous CRA scams or to learn more about how you can protect yourself, visit the CRA website at http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/scrty/frdprvntn/menu-eng.html.
At Tax Solutions Canada we are committed to helping you resolve your tax problem – and helping you avoid creating new ones by falling victim to CRA scams set to rob you outright. Call us today for more information: 1 888-868-1400.