The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre is warning citizens to beware, as reports of fraudulent calls have begun to surface. These so-called “tax scams” take two distinct forms, the Anti-Fraud Centre warns:
Fraudsters can call you and impersonate the Canada Revenue Agency. They might say something like “you’re being audited” or “payment is required immediately”. They’ll ask you to pay via a money service (such as MoneyGram) or risk fines, prison time and even deportation!
The second form of fraud is by email: you might receive an email that *looks* like the real thing, saying that your CRA tax refund is pending. What they want you to do is click on a link and give your banking information in order to receive a refund. Instead of a refund, you may find that your bank account has been plundered.
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre gives useful tips to avoid falling victim to these types of fraud:
- The CRA will never ask for personal information through an email or text message or by clicking on a link.
- The CRA will never request payment by prepaid credit cards or iTunes gift cards, and it does not send emails containing details of a tax refund or Interac e-transfer payments.
- The CRA advises Canadians to confirm the status of their tax accounts before taking any action that may be the result of pressure from suspicious calls or emails, and to verify the legitimacy of the communication by contacting the CRA directly at 1-800-959-8281 or by checking My Account or My Business Account.
- For more information about fraud scams involving the CRA, visit Protect yourself against fraud.
- If you've shared personal information, contact Equifax and Trans Union to place fraud alerts on your account.
- If you've shared banking information with the scammers, contact your financial institution to place alerts on your account.
Be careful out there! Fraudsters are getting more and more creative, and all it takes is a moment of distraction to become a victim…