It is important to be vigilant of scams throughout the year, but especially during tax time. There has been a rise in fraudulent telephone calls, text messages and emails from individuals posing as Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) agents. This fraudulent communication often seeks to collect money or personal information such as a credit card number, bank account number, passport number, or social insurance number from the individual. The request seems urgent, promising a refund or benefit payment in exchange for your personal information. It can also involve aggressive language, threatening collection action against you in order to scare you into paying false debt. Always exercise extreme caution when dealing with communications from the CRA and never reply or click on links provided.
Three important actions can help you to recognize a scam and avoid falling victim to such fraud:
- CRA does not communicate by email. Other than notifications to view a new message on CRA portals such as My Account, My Business Account, or Represent a Client, the CRA does not communicate by email. All emails from anyone who directly claims to be from CRA are fraudulent without exception. Disregard these types of correspondence.
- CRA is required to provide any communications they make in writing. If you receive a telephone call from someone claiming to be from CRA, insist that they communicate with you by mail either to you directly or to your accountant as your representative. Your name, SIN, address, and/or your accountant’s address should already be on record with CRA; therefore, do not provide any information over the telephone. These conversations often begin with the “CRA representative” calling to confirm your personal information. Confirmation suggests that they have this information, so they do not need you to provide it. Again, insisting to send by mail is the best course of action.
- Engage your accountant to deal with any communication with CRA on your behalf. While this is ultimately your decision, your accountant has considerable experience in dealing with CRA queries, should they arise.
Posted in Tax Tips for 2018 Tax Year
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