Being contacted by the CRA can be intimidating. For many of us it can leave our hearts racing at the thought of what could possibly be the reasoning for it, but what if that phone call or email wasn’t even real? Instead, it was a ruse to gain your personal and financial information. This could be absolutely devastating and is exactly why it is important to remain vigilant when receiving correspondences from the CRA.
The biggest thing you can do to protect yourself against CRA scams is to have an understanding of the way the CRA communicates.
For example, the CRA will never:
- Demand payment from you
- Threaten you with the police or with arrest
- Release personal or financial information on your voicemail/email
- Email you a link to your refund or to a form to fill in your financial information
- Ask for your personal or financial information via email
- Ask you to meet in a public place for payment
- Contact you via text or instant messaging (Facebook, Whatsapp, etc).
The CRA may:
- Ask to verify your personal information over the phone (full name, date of birth, address, SIN)
- Begin the audit process over the phone
- Notify you of messages or documents in your CRA My Account by email
- Email you a link to a CRA website or publication that you requested while on the phone
- Ask for financial information via mail
- Request payment through the CRA’s payment options via mail
- Take legal action to recover owed money via mail
- Offer free tax help via mail
If you are ever in doubt that the individual you are speaking to is a CRA agent, ask them to verify their identity and make note of their name, phone number, and office location. You can then verify the caller’s legitimacy by contacting the CRA. Use the following links to find more information on CRA scams and how to recognize a CRA scam. Follow this link to see examples of CRA email scams and this link to see examples of CRA phone scams.