Businesses that have applied for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) may receive a validation call from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Canadians have lost in excess of $1.2 million during this COVID-19 pandemic involving phone and internet scams; thus, everyone must be aware of the dangers of sharing personal or business information with an unknown third party. These CRA CEWS validation phone calls have the potential for further exposing individuals and/or their businesses to fraud and certain precautions are highly advisable.
In our recent discussions with CRA, due to COVID-19, many CRA employees are working from home and CEWS validation calls may come from a personal cell or home phone line instead of an official CRA phone line. Receiving a call from an unknown or personal number may also represent a key indicator of a fraudulent call. Anyone receiving such a CEWS validation call (or any other call from a purported CRA agent) should take steps to verify that the call is indeed from the CRA.
The CRA may ask you for some information over the phone to verify your identity including:
- Full Name
- Date of Birth
- Account Number
- Social Insurance Number (often just the last three digits)
- Under no circumstances should you provide your full SIN.
The CRA will never:
- Request information about your passport, health card or driver’s license
- Demand immediate payment by e-transfer, bitcoin, prepaid credit cards or gift cards
- Use aggressive language or threaten you with arrest or police involvement
- Leave voicemails that are threatening or request personal or financial information
- Send an email to you that requests personal or financial information
We recommend everyone validate the legitimacy of a CRA call prior to providing any information over the phone. Such validation can occur by requesting that the CRA agent provide you with their name and CRA ID number. Thereafter, terminate the call and contact the CRA’s Information and Services for Businesses and Self-employed Individuals line at 1-800-959-5525. The CRA can then confirm the validity of the CRA agent trying to contact you. It is important that you safeguard your and/or your business’s information to reduce instances of identity theft and/or fraud. If you have any questions regarding CRA telephone communications, please contact your Bateman MacKay Account Manager.