Beware of Fraudulent Communications

The  CRA released the following media update.

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.
  • The CRA will not ask a taxpayer to call back to a long distance number. The number will either be local or toll-free.

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 the CRA Web site should you have concerns.

Examples
At the CRA website, you will find examples of a fraudulent letter, emails, and online refund forms .  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 have any concerns, they may verify the authenticity of a 1-800 CRA telephone number by calling 1-800-O-Canada  (1-800-622-6232).  Should taxpayers wish to verify the authenticity of a regular (not a 1-800) telephone number for the CRA, they should contact the CRA directly by using the numbers that can be found at Contact Us at http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/cntct/phn-eng.html. For business-related calls, contact 1-800-959-5525  and for individual concerns, contact 1-800-959-8281.

If you have responded to a fraudulent communication and have become a victim of fraud, please contact the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s Phonebusters by email at info@phonebusters.com or call  1-888-495-8501 . For more information, please see Public Safety Canada’s Web site at www.publicsafety.gc.ca/prg/le/bs/phsh-adv-eng.aspx.

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