Tax Tip – Fraud Prevention Month: How to recognize fraud, scams and tax schemes

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OTTAWA, ON: Every March, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) joins organizations around the world to recognize Fraud Prevention Month. Keeping your information secure is a top priority for the CRA. Learning how to identify fraud, scams and tax schemes helps keep your personal information safe.

Recognize the signs of fraud and scams
Scammers might insist that they need personal or financial information, like your social insurance number (SIN), credit card number or bank account number. Often, they will try to get you to act quickly, in hopes of getting a refund or benefit payment in return. On the other hand, they may attempt to intimidate you by using coercive or threatening language to get you to pay a false debt. Sometimes, they will lead you to a fake website asking you to verify your identity by entering your personal information or CRA log-in credentials. Find more information on how to recognize a scam on the Scam Prevention and the CRA webpage.
Scammers are always adapting their practices to find new ways to get your information. Stay up-to-date with trending scams by visiting the CRA’s Scam Alerts webpage.

How the CRA communicates with Canadians
Knowing what to expect when the CRA contacts you can help you tell the difference between real communications from the CRA and scams. Legitimate CRA employees will identify themselves when they call you, providing you with their name and a callback phone number. When the CRA has a message or document for your attention, we notify you by email that something is available for you to view in your CRA account, which you access by using CRA’s sign-in services.
It’s just as important to know what the CRA won’t do when contacting you. The CRA will never demand immediate payment by e-transfer, cryptocurrency, prepaid credit cards or gift cards. Our call centre agents won’t threaten you with arrest, deportation or sending the police. The CRA doesn’t leave voicemails that include personal or financial information, and we will never email or text you a link to your refund.
If you are ever unsure and want to confirm if the CRA contacted you, hang up and contact the CRA:
In the provinces:
Individuals: 1-800-959-8281
Businesses: 1-800-959-5525
In the territories:
Individuals: 1-866-426-1527
Businesses: 1-866-841-1876
Tax schemes
Unlike scams and fraud, tax schemes are plans or arrangements that go against the Canadian tax laws and are often advertised by “promoters.” Promoters are individuals or businesses who recruit taxpayers to their tax schemes by promising to reduce their taxes so that they receive large tax deductions or tax-free income. Learn how to recognize tax schemes by visiting Beware of tax schemes that promise to reduce your taxes.
What to do if you’ve been scammed
If you think you may be the victim of a scam or fraud, or if you were tricked into giving away your personal or financial information, contact all of the following:
your local police service;
your financial institution; and
credit reporting agencies.
Contact the CRA if you:
think your CRA user ID or password has been compromised;
find changes to your banking, address, business, or personal information made in your CRA My Account that you did not request;
find a benefit application made for you without your knowledge;
want to disable online access to the CRA’s sign-in services; or
want to enable online access to the CRA’s sign-in services after it has been disabled.