On a daily basis, someone is receiving a call, email, or text message claiming to be from Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). These fraudulent contacts are known as phishing, attempting to compile personal and financial information to extract money from individuals. To protect yourself from falling victim to these predators you need to be able to recognize when the contact is a scam. To help identify if you are being scammed;
- Accepts payment from prepaid credit cards or gift cards
- Ask for personal information from passport, health card, or driver’s license; a CRA Agent already has this information when they contact an individual
- Does not share with another party personal information unless prior, appropriate authorization has been arranged
- Leaves personal information on an answering machine nor asks you to leave a message containing personal information.
- Contacts via text message
- Offers online forms to complete to receive a tax refund
- Email’s a message requesting you to send interact e-transfers
- Sends unsolicited email message to open links
- Requests personal information in an email message
Recognize a scam
Fraudsters come up continuously with new invention to scam and extract money from individuals. We need to be vigilant when receiving these scam contacts either by phone, email, regular mail, or text messages. Be wary if you are told you will be receiving a refund or benefit payment. If you receive a call that escalates into threatening, coercive language, or scare tactics to pay a debt to CRA, end the call immediately. Watch for email’s that direct you to a fake CRA website and being asked to verify personal information. If you receive a test or email to open a link to provide your personal or financial information, do not click on the link, instead delete the message.
If you contact CRA requesting information a CRA Agent will email you during the call. When a CRA Agent calls they always provide their full name and Agent number. The CRA Agent does not accept payment over the phone.
When in doubt, ask yourself
- Have you set up your online mail with CRA My Account, My Business Account, or Represent a Client. If yes, you can always login to check your status
- Are you expecting money from CRA? If yes, you will either receive a cheque in the mail or direct deposit into your bank account. This, of course, depends on the arrangements made with CRA how you want to receive money
- Questions being asked would already be on your tax return and CRA already has on file (social insurance number, date of birth, etc.).
- Is this too good to be true? Are you the recipient of an excessively large refund or being threatened to pay a large amount you are not aware or recognize the source.
If you believe you received a fraudulent phone call you can contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm or call 1-888-495-8501
If you suspect you have become the victim of fraud by being tricked into giving personal or financial information, contact your local police.
Contact CRA if you believe your personal information has been compromised. A CRA Agent will act on your behalf to prevent fraudulent activity to happen by preventing access to your online My Account. To contact an agent go to Click to Talk Form and fill out the form and a CRA Agent will contact you or call 1-800-959-8281.
You can also contact Banka & Company, CPA to help you. We can be an advocate as well as a representative when communicating with CRA.