Some may assume that, with tax season for both individuals and businesses behind us, Canada Revenue Agency scams would have died down, at least until the season returns. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case, and such thinking often leads to taxpayers letting their guard down and offering up their personal information on a silver platter. In 2015 alone, Canada Revenue Agency scams resulted in 15,091 complaints, 751 victims and nearly $2.5 million lost.
Even though the 2016 tax season is over, here are a few CRA scams that you still need to be aware off.
One of the scariest (and fear is a proven tactic for fraudsters) is the phone call from a ‘CRA agent’ telling you about a reassessment and informing you that thousands of dollars are owed. The caller may threaten you, saying they have an arrest warrant pending, that they’ve frozen your bank account or are going to seize your property unless payment is provided right away. Often the fraudsters will request payment through credit card right over the phone or through a person-to-person wire transfer.
Scams such as these have resulted in thousands of dollars lost by average Canadians who fell victim to the menacing strategies of these criminal individuals.
Other telephone related CRA scams are just out for personal information, which will then be used for identity theft or to gain control of your money. Following the same procedures outlined above, a ‘CRA agent’ will call and request clarification regarding personal information. This information may have to do with anything, from your SIN to personal banking information.
Phone scams are not the only ones. Other fraudsters are taking advantage through email, sending out letters such as this one, released by the Barrie Examiner to help make individuals aware.
Scams such as these require clicking on a link, which then prompts you to provide banking information to ‘secure your refund,’ and presto, you’ve given the fraudsters the information that makes stealing your identity and money much easier.
How can you identify those calls which are fraudulent in nature? Here are a few red flags to take note of:
- Urgency – any time anything is ‘urgent’ – meaning the caller requires payment or a decision to be made right away.
- Requesting private financial information, such as bank account or credit card numbers – never provide this over the phone.
- Asking for cash only.
- Refusing to provide a call back number.
Additionally, the CRA will never:
- Request prepaid credit cards.
- Ask for information about your passport, health card, or driver’s license.
- Share your taxpayer information with another person, unless you have provided the appropriate authorization.
- Leave personal information on your answering machine or asks you to leave a message containing your personal information on an answering machine.
Any of these occurrences warrant a call to police.
When in doubt, hang up and call the CRA. The number can be found online here: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/menu-eng.html.
Protect yourself. Don’t fall prey to fraudulent CRA scams.
Want to settle any CRA debts you know are looming? Call Tax Solutions Canada today at 1-888-868-1400.