Beware of scammers claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency
This tax season there has been an increase in fraudulent activity with people posing as Canada Revenue Agency employees. We wanted to take this time to inform you of what this activity could look like, and show you how to recognize the signs of scamming.
CRA scammers have been using e-mails, phone calls, and even text messages to manipulate people into sending them money and personal information. Scammers do this through threatening or coercive language to scare people into paying a fictitious debt to the CRA.
How to recognize a scam
Fraudulent Phone Calls – the most common form of communication
When you receive a phone call saying you owe money to the CRA and they won’t allow you to hang up or they threaten you, this strongly indicates that you are being scammed. Below is an example of a telephone voice message scam.
“So in next 24 hours we will be marking a lien on your assets and your bank accounts due to your inability to settle your dues with the CRA. A bill collection officer will visit you soon to complete the paper works. If you have any questions then call our tax default line. 888-745-0433, I repeat it’s, 888-745-0433. If you don’t call immediately, or if we don’t hear from your attorney either, then you will be solely responsible for all legal consequences. Goodbye.” – Voice message telephone scam
For more examples of telephone scams, click this link.
What to do in this situation:
- Step 1: Hang up
The CRA will never give you an aggressive time limit for payment, and will never try to keep you on the phone line while threatening to freeze your assets, send out a warrant of your arrest or give you a specific ATM machine location to deposit your taxes due.
- Step 2: Confirm the balance owing
Call the CRA to confirm at 1 (800) 959–8281 or check online with your My Account for the balance owing if any. If you are unsure, please contact our office and we can assist you.
- Step 3: If you have given the scammer any personal information such as your social insurance number or banking information, please contact your local police department.
- Step 4: If you have received one of these phone calls and would like to report this deceptive activity, you can complete a report online at the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website or by calling 1 (888) 495-8501.
The only e-mails that you should be receiving from the CRA occur when you sign up for online mail. If you don’t receive online mail, then you should be receiving no e-mails from the CRA. If you have signed up for online mail, there are only 2 situations where the CRA would email you:
- The CRA sends you a registration confirmation email to the address you provided for online mail service for an individual or a business
- The CRA sends an email to the address you provided to notify you when new online mail is available to view in the CRA’s secure online services portal
For additional examples of e-mail scams, click this link.
The following examples of fraudulent communications, though not as common, are being used and if you want to protect yourself against fraudulent activity in the future, we highly suggest reviewing the links below.
- Fraudulent Letters
- Fraudulent Text Messages
- Fraudulent Online Refund Forms
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to give us a call or send us an email. If you suspect a call you received from the CRA was a scam, please call us and let us know. We will do our best to guide you!