As tax season approaches, it is especially important for taxpayers to protect themselves and their personal information from scammers.
Following is a list of some indicators that a phone call, voicemail message or email is NOT from the Canada Revenue Agency:
· The call is automated, ie. a recorded message or robot rather than a live person, DO NOT return the phone call.
· The person calling does not ask for you or a member of your household specifically by name. This means they do not know who they are calling. CRA WILL ask or leave a message for a specific person.
· The person calling uses threats of lawsuits or jail time in an attempt to get you to comply with their demands. You will receive written notice from the CRA long before you will be in legal trouble with the tax department.
· The person calling requests that you purchase gift cards or use prepaid credit cards to pay a debt owing. CRA will NEVER ask for gift cards to pay an amount owed. You can pay CRA by cheque mail or drop, cash or withdrawal at your Bank or even online from your bank’s website NEVER from an email.
· You receive an email that contains links or requires you to provide personal or financial information. The CRA will only send an email containing links if you have requested a form or specific information, in which case, they will send the email while you are on the phone with them.
If you are still unsure whether or not it is the Canada Revenue Agency that has contacted you, you can ask for, or make a note of, the caller’s name, phone number, and office location, and tell them that you want to first verify their identity. You can check that the call you received was in fact from the CRA by calling:
· 1-888-863-8657 for individual debts
· 1-877-477-5068 for GST/HST debts
· 1-877-548-6016 for payroll debts
· 1-866-291-6346 for corporation debts
· 1-866-864-5823 if the call you received was about a government program such as employment insurance or Canada Student Loan debts.