OPP are warning that as tax season approaches are many Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) schemes being used to steal your money.
CRA scams come in many forms - over the phone, by e-mail, or by text message. In all cases, the caller or sender poses as an agent from the CRA in an attempt to gather personal information, or intimidate a victim into providing financial payment.
Phone Scam: Phone scammers posing as CRA agents will claim one of several possibilities:
- that you owe money to the CRA and will be arrested if you do not pay immediately;
- that a lawsuit has been filed against you by the CRA;
- that a warrant of arrest has already been issued under your name;
- that you will be deported if you do not pay the money demanded; or
- other similar threats to get you to share your personal tax information and/or pay money.
E-Mail Scam / Text Message: An e-mail or text message is sent from someone pretending to be with the CRA, claiming:
- that your tax calculation has been completed, and you will receive a tax refund by going through a link and submitting information;
- that you or your company is being accused of participating in tax evasion schemes;
- that several discrepancies have been found with your filed taxes which need to be revised;
- that you've received an e-transfer from the CRA for what appears to be a tax refund; or
- that an "investigation" has been started on your CRA claim.
How can I protect myself or my loved ones?
- Hang up immediately if there's anything suspicious or unprofessional about the call - the CRA will NEVER threaten you with immediate arrest, use abusive language or send police.
- The CRA will NEVER request a payment by Interac e-transfer, online currency such as bitcoin, pre-paid credit cards or pre-paid gift cards such as Google Play, iTunes, Home Depot, etc. Scammers will ask to purchase large denomination gift cards as form of payment.
- Do not click on any link in an e-mail pretending to be from the CRA - the CRA will NEVER ask you to click on any link to get a refund or to collect personal or financial information.
- The CRA NEVER sends out text messages. Any text message from the CRA is a scam.
How should I respond?
- If you are not sure if a message is from the CRA, confirm your tax status with the CRA online through a CRA secure portals such as My Account or by calling 1-800-959-8281.
- File a report with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) toll-free at 1-888-495-8501 or online www.antifraudcentre.ca, whether you paid money or not.
- Report the scam to your local police if you paid money (this includes purchasing pre-paid credit cards, gift cards, or online currency such as Bitcoin).
- If you sent money or shared financial information, report it to the financial institution used e.g. your bank, Western Union, MoneyGram.
- If your social insurance number has also been stolen, contact Service Canada at 1-800-206-7218.
Additional information can be found at: