March is fraud prevention month and every year, millions of people in Canada and around the world fall victim to scam artists. Recently, these criminals have been posing as the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). They say they’re collecting outstanding tax debts, but their goal is to steal banking information and deplete their victims’ accounts.
You’ve worked hard for your money. We don’t want you to lose it so we’re sharing this information from the CRA to help protect you against fraud.
There are many fraud types, with new ones being invented every day. Here are some examples:
- Online refund forms
How to confirm it’s the CRA:
A telephone call
If you receive a call saying you owe money to the CRA, you can call the CRA or check My Account to be sure.
Online mail through CRA
If you have signed up for online mail (available through My Account, My Business Account, and Represent a Client):
The CRA will do the following:
- send a registration confirmation email to the address you provided for online mail service for an individual or a business; and
- send 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.
The CRA will not do the following:
- Send email with a link and ask you to divulge personal or financial information. There is one exception – If you call the CRA to request a form or a link for specific information, the CRA customer service representative will forward the information to your email address during the call. This is the ONLY way the CRA will send an email containing links.
- Ask for personal information of any kind by email or text message.
- Request payments by prepaid credit cards.
- Give taxpayer information to another person, unless formal authorization is provided by the taxpayer.
- Leave personal information on an answering machine.
When in doubt, ask yourself the following:
- Did I sign up to receive online mail through My Account, My Business Account, or Represent a Client?
- Did I provide my email address on my income tax and benefit return to receive mail online?
- Am I expecting more money from the CRA?
- Does this sound too good to be true?
- Is the requester asking for information I would not provide in my tax return?
- Is the requester asking for information I know the CRA already has on file for me?
The information in this article has been taken directly from the Canada Revenue Agency’s website at www.cra-arc.gc.ca/scrty/frdprvntn/menu-eng.html
The CRA lists the following as additional external references:
- Competition Bureau
- Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
- Citizenship and Immigration Canada
- Canadian Consumer Information Gateway
- Get Cyber Safe
- Consumer Measures Committee
- Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police
- Financial Consumer Agency of Canada
- Equifax and TransUnion Canada are two services that gather credit information on almost all individuals. At your request, these services can place an indicator or flag on your credit file to alert you of any changes