The weeks immediately following a tax deadline are a high traffic time for fraudulent Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) phone calls and emails. These communications usually refer to unpaid taxes that must be paid immediately or severe punishment will follow. Some communications will demand personal information such as credit card, bank, or passport information. These exchanges can lead to identity or financial theft.
The CRA may contact you by phone or email for legitimate tax reasons, but there are certain behaviours to look for that may expose the communication as fraudulent. If you have any doubts about a piece of correspondence claiming to be from the CRA, call your Tax Advisor at Bateman MacKay LLP and get the CRA in touch with your representative.
What to look out for
The Canada Revenue Agency will never:
- Threaten you with immediate arrest or a prison sentence
- Ask for personal or financial information through an unsolicited email
- Ask for any kind of personal information through email or text message
- Ask for immediate payment by prepaid credit cards, gift cards, bitcoin or other digital currencies
- Ask you to leave your personal information on an answering machine
When in doubt
The CRA will allow you to verify their authenticity. If you have any concerns about a communication, take steps to substantiate their claims.
- Note the caller’s name, phone number, and office location and tell them that you want to validate their identity first.
- Verify the employee works for the CRA by calling the CRA at 1-800-959-8281 for individuals or 1-800-959-5525 for business.
Take a moment to verify the caller’s claims.
- Did you file your return on time?
- Have you received any other communication from the CRA?
- Is the requester asking for information not provided on your tax return or that is not related to the CRA?
To report scams
You should report deceptive telemarketing to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online or by calling 1-888-495-8501. If you suspect you may be the victim of fraud or have been tricked into giving personal or financial information, contact your local police service.