Easy ways to beat CRA scam attempts

Scammers posing as the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) continue their attempts to trick you into handing over money or personal information.

Know what to expect when the CRA contacts you so you can tell the difference between legitimate communications from the CRA, and scams. A legitimate CRA employee will identify themself when they contact you, providing you with their name and phone number to call them back, if needed.

If you’re suspicious, you can make sure the caller is a CRA employee before providing any information over the phone.

Here’s how: Tell the caller you would like to first verify their identity. Request and make a note of their: name, phone number, office location, and then end the call. Then check that the information provided during the call was legitimate by contacting the CRA at 1-800-959-8281. Please do this before you give any information to the caller. Once you complete these three steps, you can call the CRA employee back to discuss the reason for their call.

There are times to be suspicious and these are the red flags that suggest a caller is a scammer including, but not limited to, the following: the caller does not give you proof of working for the CRA, for example, their name and office location; the caller pressures you to act now, uses aggressive language, or issues threats of arrest or sending law enforcement; the caller asks you to pay with prepaid credit cards, gift cards, cryptocurrency, or some other unusual form of payment; the caller asks for information you would not enter on your return or that is not related to money you owe the CRA, for example, a credit card number; the caller recommends that you apply for benefits.

Do not provide information to callers offering to apply for benefits on your behalf. You can apply for benefits directly on Government of Canada websites or by phone. Scammers are also trying to trick people into clicking links by sending fraudulent emails and text messages.

Examples of CRA-related scams are on the Scam prevention page at the CRA website and you can also visit the scams and fraud page for more tips and helpful information. You should report a scam if you suspect either of the following: you have been the victim of fraud; a scammer has tricked you into giving personal or financial information.To report a scam, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre page, follow the instructions on the CRA Scams and fraud page at www.canada.ca, or call 1-888-495-8501.

If you think you may be the victim of fraud or you unknowingly provided personal or financial information, contact all of the following: your local police service; your financial institution; credit reporting agencies.

Community Care will do Income Tax for free for eligible seniors. Call 613-476-7493 for information.

-Debbie MacDonald Moynes