Last year The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) was warning Canadian tax payers of an increase in telephone scams where the caller was impersonating a CRA representative. The CRA has reported, that this year reports of emails, text messages and telephone calls related to tax scams are continuing.
Consumers are receiving emails and/or text messages indicating a refund pending from the CRA. The link directs customers to a website that looks like the actual CRA. Specific personal information is requested in order to get an email money transfer. Victims who input their personal information are subject to identity fraud (no refund is ever issued).
A clear indication of a scammer will be if they request unusual or suspicious information from you. This information includes your credit card information – including prepaid credit cards, and your passport, health card, or driver’s license details. In addition, the CRA will never leave personal information in a voice mail message or request you to do the same.
To verify if you are dealing with a legitimate CRA representative, request their name and identification number – some collections official may come off as forceful and aggressive, but all valid representatives will provide their identification number.
You can then call the CRA back at their general inquires line and explain the situation. Once you provide them with the identification number and information received they will be able to authenticate the original call. Due to the high increase in fraudulent calls occurring, it is recommended that you never release the information being requested and following up with the general inquires line at the CRA at once. You can also talk with your accountant and they can provide additional guidance on your specific situation.
In most cases, the CRA will use mail to contact consumers (not email, phone or text messages). Never provide personal information over the telephone, by text or email.
A special note: If you are ever the victim of one of these calls, you should report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at once.
This publication is produced by Andrews & Co. as an information service to clients and friends of the firm, and is not intended to substitute for competent professional advice. No action should be initiated without consulting your professional advisors