Each year, more and more people are falling victim to CRA scams. These aren’t scams being done by the Canadian Revenue Agency but rather people scamming others by pretending to be the CRA. It’s easier to fall trap to these ploys than most people think. Many go to great lengths to be convincing. By using fake CRA identification numbers, make replicas of official websites and forge official looking documents. If you look for these signs though you can keep yourself safe and be able to identify one.
One of the most common scams that people pull is calling individuals to claim they owe tax money that needs to be paid immediately. Don’t ever believe these calls. The CRA will never call and demand and immediate payment. In fact, they never even call without having mailed you a bill or notice first. It’s easy to see how people would fall trap to this scam, though. The fear of owing money to the CRA can be intense. Never give any information over the phone and double check by calling the official CRA number.
The CRA will never call, email, or mail a bill demanding an immediate payment without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal them. The CRA will always work with people to find a payment schedule that works for them. The real CRA will take the time to answer questions and discuss payment methods and timelines.
Required Payment Methods
Certain payment methods are preferred over others when it comes to scam artists. This is why most CRA scams will require you to pay only using these specific methods. The real CRA has a long list of acceptable payment methods. Wire transfers, cash, and prepaid debit cards tend to be favored among scam artists as they are hardest to track.
Credit Card Numbers Over the Phone
CRA scammers will ask for credit and debit card numbers over the phone. You should never give out this information over the phone unless you know for sure who is calling. The CRA will never ask for this information over the phone. If you have given your card numbers out over the phone contact your accountant to check your finances.
Threats of Law-Enforcement
It is true that if you don’t pay your taxes or have committed fraud you could face legal repercussions. However, the CRA will never call and threaten you with law-enforcement. There is a long legal process for CRA fraud issues. A popular CRA scam is to threaten people with jail time or calling law enforcement if a payment isn’t made immediately.
Email “phishing” is when scams happen through the web or email. Scammers will send out official-looking emails with links to official-looking websites to trick people into believing they are the CRA. They seek out personal and financial information to be used against them. Pin numbers, social insurance numbers, and credit card numbers are frequently asked for. Always show emails of this nature to your accountant or call the CRA to double check the validity.
Tax Refund Scams
Sometimes scammers don’t ask people to pay but instead ask for information in order to receive tax refunds. If you are going to receive any tax refund you will be mailed an official notice from the CRA. Always double-check everything before giving out information.
What To Do If You Come Across a Scam
When you come across a CRA scam there are a number of things you should do. Double-check everything with your accountant and the CRA. Contact one of the CRA hotlines and file an official complaint. If you think you have already fallen victim to a scam and notice issue with your financial data contact the police.
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