Fraud, Phishing Scams & CRA
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has recently been warning Canadians to be careful of emails, voice mails, even postal mail claiming to be from the CRA. These are phishing scams that could result in identity thefts. Email scams may also contain embedded malware, or malicious software, that can harm your computer and put your personal information at risk of compromise. The CRA never emails or calls Canadians and requests personal information. CRA is warning that people should especially be aware of phishing scams asking for personal information, such as social insurance, 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. Sometimes scams indicate that the taxpayer is eligible to receive money back and fraudsters seem to be well aware that when offered money, especially from the CRA, Canadians are more prone to let down their guard. Again remember CRA does not email or call Canadians... All correspondence is, at the very least, initiated by postal mail. An email scam that has recently circulated 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 (of course) 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. Should you receive any communications claiming to be from the CRA, you should immediately initiate contact yourself with CRA, or take it to your Tax Preparer for review. Experienced Tax Preparers will know if the correspondence is fake and contact CRA with any concerns, on your behalf. They are professionally trained to effeciently deal with any problems that may arise. Ask yourself the following questions:
First and foremost if it is an email; it is fake! (CRA does not email Canadians)
Am I expecting additional money from the CRA? (If no be suspicious)
Does this sound too good to be true? (Then it is...)
Is the requester asking for information that I would not include with my tax return? (CRA normally would not ask for information such as Banking, Credit Card, ect.)
Is the requester asking for information I know the CRA already has on file for me?
Am I confident I know who is asking for the information?
If you wish to verify the authenticity of a telephone number or email you were contacted with, you can contact the CRA by using the telephone numbers listed on the CRA website. For business-related calls, contact 1-800-959-5525 and for individual concerns, contact 1-800-959-8281.
Thank you, Andrew & Peter