Beware of Fraudulent Communications that Appear to be from Canada Revenue Agency
Tax time is generally a stressful time, for a lot of people, as they work out all the calculations in order to determine how much tax they will have to pay or how much they will get back.
It is also the prime time for scam artists to perpetrate a fraud, on the unsuspecting, by pretending to be the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The letter or email looks official enough, and may even sound reasonable. It's intent, however, is not. It is an entirely criminal operation and one that can be easily sidestepped if one is willing to equip oneself with a little bit of important information.
The letter or email states that there is money to be claimed by the victim, from the CRA and that all that is required is for the victim to provide certain information so that their file can be "updated" and the monies released. It asks for the information to be faxed, or emailed, to them and provides a fax number. The fraudsters are looking to gain identity and banking information from the victim so bank accounts can be accessed through false pretenses.
Some recent telephone scams involve the suspect threatening taxpayers or using aggressive and forceful language to scare them into paying fictitious debt to the CRA. Victims often receive a phone call from a person claiming to work for the CRA who says that taxes are owed. The suspect usually requests immediate payment by credit card or will convince the victim to purchase a prepaid credit card and demand that they call the suspect back immediately with the information. The taxpayer is often threatened with court charges, jail or even deportation.
The CRA will NOT request personal information, of any kind, by email. They will NOT divulge any of your information, of any kind, to another unless formal authorization is provided by you. The CRA will NOT leave any personal information on an answering machine. There is other important information, on the Canada Revenue Agency website, that you as a taxpayer should know.
If you want to confirm that a CRA representative has contacted you , call the CRA at 1-800-959-8281 for individual concerns or 1-800-959-5525 for business-related calls.
We work too hard for the money we earn. Part of that work involves remaining ever vigilant to the schemes of criminals who would have us unwittingly hand our money over to them.
It is worth taking the time to become informed. How much it is worth is up to you.
Report any frauds to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre or call them at 1-888-495-8501.
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