Beware of Tax Scams!
Fraudsters are targeting Canadians by impersonating the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and contacting taxpayers through telephone, email and text message. Over $5 million dollars were lost by Canadians in 2017 from CRA tax scams.
CRA Tax Scams
The scam artists typically use threatening language and tones of voice to intimidate their targets. Victims are pressured to stay on the line, and may be falsely told that speaking with anyone about the call will lead to charges due to breaches of confidentiality.
The fraudsters are able to "spoof" phone numbers, tricking call display services to show a false phone number. Emails may direct targets to website which appear to be from the CRA.
Fraudulent callers request alternative forms of payment such as Bitcoin, Apple Pay, or prepaid gift cards. These methods of payment are nearly impossible to track, and victims have a hard time recovering their money.
Tax payments should be made directly to the CRA. Click here for a list of payment methods that the CRA accepts.
If you are in doubt about the caller, inform them that you will be calling the CRA directly to confirm the status of your account, and hang up. Fraudsters may make threats to attempt to keep you on the line, while legitimate CRA agents will give you an opportunity to do this.
CRA phone number for individuals: 1-800-959-8281
CRA phone numbers for businesses: 1-800-959-5525
Never provide personal information to the other party including your SIN number and passwords.
Call your accountant! We are happy to screen potential scams for you, and also to deal with legitimate CRA matters on your behalf.
Do Not Ignore the CRA
The CRA will send letters to taxpayers and may make phone calls to contact you, particularly if your mailing address with them is outdated (ensure to update your mailing address with the CRA if you move).
As mentioned above, you may call the CRA or your accountant to confirm the identify of the caller.
The CRA may be reaching out to you to discuss a legitimate tax matter, and ignoring these calls could lead to negative consequences.
Vast Tax Scam Group Broken
A vast Telephone Tax Scam operating out of the United States was broken up as reported by the New York Times on July 23, 2018. This is a positive sign that law enforcement is able to make a difference against these groups. Hopefully, we will be seeing fewer victims of these malicious acts.
Please visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre for more information.
The Edmonton Police Service also has information about this scam.