Beware of fraudulent communications
The CRA has recently become aware of a new scam involving email money transfers. Canadians are reminded that the CRA will only send payments by direct deposit or by cheque, never by email money transfer.
Occasionally, taxpayers may receive, either by telephone, mail, or email, a communication that claims to be from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) but is NOT. In all these cases, the communication requests personal information, such as a social insurance, credit card, bank account, and passport numbers, from the taxpayer. These fraudulent communications are also referred to as scams or phishing.
Invariably, the communication argues that this personal information is needed so that the taxpayer can receive a refund or benefit payment. Another common scam refers the person to a Web site resembling the CRA’s Web site where the person is asked to verify their identity by entering personal information. Taxpayers should not respond to such fraudulent communications.
To better equip taxpayers to identify those communications that do not come from the CRA, the following general guidelines are provided.
The CRA does not do the following:
- The CRA will not request personal information of any kind from a taxpayer by email.
- The CRA will not divulge taxpayer information to another person unless formal authorization is provided by the taxpayer.
- The CRA will not leave any personal information on an answering machine.
When in doubt, ask yourself the following:
- Am I expecting additional money from the CRA?
- Does this sound too good to be true?
- Is the requester asking for information I would not include with my tax return?
- Is the requester asking for information I know the CRA already has on file for me?
- How did the requester get my email address?
- Am I confident I know who is asking for the information?
The CRA will continue to post notifications of fraudulent communications as we become aware of them and encourages you to check our Web site should you have concerns.
You will find examples of a fraudulent letter, emails, and online refund forms on the CRA’s Web site. As per telephone calls, the CRA will occasionally leave messages for taxpayers on their answering machines. In these cases, a callback number will be provided along with a request to have the taxpayer’s SIN available upon callback. However, it is important to note that not all telephone messages purporting to be from the CRA are genuine. Should taxpayers wish to verify the authenticity of a CRA telephone number, they should contact the CRA directly by using the numbers on our Telephone numbers page. For business-related calls, contact 1-800-959-5525 and for individual concerns, contact 1-800-959-8281.
For information on scams, to report deceptive telemarketing, or if you have given personal or financial information unwittingly, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
NOTE: Originally posted on March 29, 2015; re-posted on April 25, 2015 due a renewed concern about tax scams. -Britt Santowski