Unfortunately, it is that time of year again where CRA fraud scams are prevalent in many forms. It may seem hard to detect whether the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is actually contacting you or if it is a fraud. However, there are some red flags to look out for that will alert you that it is a scam, as well as ways to protect yourself.
What is a CRA Fraud Scam?
Taxpayers should be skeptical when they are contacted by what is thought to be the CRA requesting personal information such as credit card number, social insurance number, passport number, or bank account number through telephone, email, text message, or email. These CRA fraud scams may insist that this personal information is necessary due to an error on their tax return or neglecting to file it. They may also insist that taxpayers visit a fake CRA website to verify their identity by entering this personal information. The fraudulent communication may even threaten individuals with calling the police, blacklisting, or jail time to scare them into paying fictitious debt to the CRA. Taxpayers should recognize these fraudulent communications as scams and not respond or click on any links provided.
What the CRA Will Do
If you signed up for online mail, the CRA will do the following:
- Send a registration confirmation email for the online mail service.
- Notify you by email when new online mail is available in the CRA’s online services portal.
What the CRA Will Not Do
It is important to note that the CRA will not do the following:
- Send an email with a link asking you to reveal personal or financial information.
- Ask for personal information by text message or email.
- Request payments by prepaid credit cards.
- Give taxpayer information to another individual, unless formal authorization was provided by the taxpayer.
- Leave personal information on an answering machine.
How to Protect Yourself
It is important to remember how to protect yourself from these CRA fraud scams. The following includes some tips on how to protect yourself and your sensitive personal information:
- Never provide personal information through email or the Internet.
- Requests to pay taxes or fees to the CRA on sweepstakes or lottery winnings are scams. You do not have to pay taxes or fees on those winnings.
- Keep your user IDs, passwords, and social insurance number secret.
- Caller ID can be altered by criminals. Never use only the Caller ID to confirm the identity of the caller.
- Store unwanted documents in a secure place or shred them.
- Be cautious before clicking on links in any email you receive.
- Pay close attention to your bills and inquire about any suspicious transactions.
- Choose your tax accountant carefully – make sure you choose someone you trust! Always review your return, agree with the content before filing, and follow up to be sure you receive your notice of assessment.
For a more exhaustive, detailed list, please visit Canada Revenue Agency’s website. When in doubt, if you are contacted and told you owe money to the CRA, you can always call the CRA or check My Account to be sure. If you have any further questions about these CRA fraud scams or want to know the importance of having a tax accountant, please do not hesitate to contact our team.