Beware of Scammers Pretending to be Tax Agents

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by Ray Hudson

Surrey: The Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) is warning Canadians that they should beware of scams asking for personal information, such as social insurance number, credit card, bank account, and passport numbers. Some of these scams ask for this personal information directly, and others refer the taxpayer to a Web site resembling the CRA’s, where the person is asked to verify their identity by entering personal information.

An email scam that has been recently circulating, notifies taxpayers that a complaint has been filed against them due to their involvement in a tax evasion scheme and requests the taxpayer provide financial reports for verification. This email is not from the CRA.

Another common scheme informs taxpayers that their tax assessment has been verified and they are eligible to receive a tax refund. The fraudsters seem to be well aware that when offered money, especially from the CRA, Canadians let down their guard.

Some recent telephone scams involve threatening taxpayers or using aggressive and forceful language to scare them into paying fictitious debt to the CRA. Victims receive a phone call from a person claiming to work for the CRA and saying that taxes are owed. The caller requests immediate payment by credit card or convinces the victims to purchase a prepaid credit card and to call back immediately with the information. The taxpayer is often threatened with court charges, jail or deportation.

If you get such a call, hang up and report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca or toll free at 1-888-495-8501.  If you believe you may be the victim of fraud or have given personal or financial information unwittingly, contact your local police service.

Remember, the CRA:

  • never requests prepaid credit cards;
  • never asks for information about your passport, health card, or driver’s licence;
  • never shares your taxpayer information with another person, unless you have provided the appropriate authorization;

never leaves personal information on your answering machine or asks you to leave a message containing your personal information on an answering machine; and does not email Canadians, if the communication is an email it is fake!