Watch out for CRA scam ....again
As if tax season weren’t a headache enough on its own, now Canadian citizens are having to worry about something else: fraud. Every tax season, we have seen an increase in the number of scams and fraud cases associated with the CRA--or, at least, people saying that they represent them.
Canadians appear to be randomly targeted by such scam phone calls, which means you could be at risk. In order to protect yourself, follow this advice.
If you receive a phone call, email, or even a letter in the mail requesting personal information from you, be weary before handing it over. Here are some ways to spot a potential scam.
5 Things What CRA Will Never Do
● Send you an email and ask you to click a link to submit personal information. The only time when CRA will actually forward you an email containing a link is if you are on the phone with a CRA agent and you ask for additional information. In this case, they will send you the link while you are still on the phone with them so that you can be certain it is not fraudulent.
● CRA will also never ask for any kind of personal information to be submitted via email or a text message.
● CRA will never ask you to pay them via a prepaid credit card.
● CRA will never ask you to provide your taxpayer information to another person unless your formally authorize it.
● CRA will never ask you to leave a voicemail containing any personal information.
What CRA Might Send
The only reason why you will be contacted by CRA through email is if you have signed up for online mail services, which is available through My Account, Represent a Client, and My Business Account. In this case, they will do two things:
● Send you a registration confirmation email to the email you provided them, and
● Send an email to the address you provided when new mail is available on CRA’s secure online services portal
The Steps To Take to protect yourself against fraud
● Do not ever provide your personal contact information via email.
● Have you won a lottery or sweepstakes? You do not have to pay fees or taxes on these winners. It’s a scam if you’re being told you have to.
● Keep your user ID, password, PINs, and access codes private.
● Make sure your address and information is current with all agencies.
● Choose a seasoned tax preparer who you can trust. Ask for references.
● Look up charities at www.cra.gc.ca/charities to make sure they’re registered before donating.
● Be weary about links you receive in any email. Phishing is a common practice today, and just clicking a link can leak your personal information.
● Always check the caller ID, but know that it can be misleading.
● If a person is calling you from CRA or a bank to confirm something, tell them you will call them back. Do not use the number they give you, find an official number online.
● Do not ever use your social security number as a form of identity verification. If someone asks for it, confirm they are a legal entity. Then ask if they are required to collect it. Use an alternative form of ID if they are not.
● Always shred your old documents and keep documents containing private information safe and secure.
● Only care the ID that you need to prevent identity theft.
● Always put your mail on hold when you go out of town.
Did you recently receive a phone call or email from someone saying they represent the CRA? Are you concerned about a message you have gotten? Give our firm a call and we can help you confirm whether or not the person who contacted you was legitimate.