Scammers are continuing to contact Canadian taxpayers through various ways including the telephone and emails seeking personal information. This is done in an effort to commit identity theft or receive a financial benefit. Taxpayers need to be aware when receiving these calls or emails to verify if they are legitimately coming from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) or if they are coming from a scammer looking to commit fraud.
It is important to know that the CRA will not; send emails containing links asking for personal information, ask clients to provide information through text message, or ask for money owing to be paid using prepaid credit cards. The CRA may send emails to clients; however, they will only contain links if you have requested information on the telephone from the CRA. If the CRA does contact you alerting you to a balance owing on your account, there are simple techniques to use to verify this claim. To verify claims of money either being received from the CRA or owed to the CRA, you can check your online account or call the CRA back to confirm the balance.
If you are signed up for online mail, the CRA will send an email notification to the email that you have provided. The notification will alert you to new mail in you CRA online account accessed through the CRA’s secure portal. If you are not signed up for online mail but would like to be, this can be done either though your online account or when filing your tax returns. If you log into your online account you need to select the option “Manage Online Mail”. If you want to sign up when filing your taxes, you can enter your email address on the spot provided on the tax return or give your email to your prepare so they can enter it for you. CRA will send a confirmation email provided to ensure that you do want to sign up for online mail.
Clients are advised to be aware of the scams surrounding the CRA involving individuals looking to gain from obtaining your personal information. Clients should never provide personal information through emails or text messages. It is also important to keep your address up to date with the CRA. An up to date address and email address will allow to CRA to contact you through these channels with legitimate information. Clients are also asked when receiving phone calls from potential scammers to ask themselves questions such as; “Does this makes sense?”, “Doesn’t the CRA already have this information?”, or “Why does the CRA require this information?”.
If you suspect that you have received communications from a fraudulent source, you are asked to either report these instances to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online or call-1-888-495-8501. If you have been contacted and revealed personal information to a source you now suspect to be fraudulent, you should call the police to report the incident.
Written by: Mike Wilson