Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Phone Scam

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is warning taxpayers to watch out for scammers that are impersonating CRA agents and issue threats of court charges, jail time and even deportation for failure to pay and outstanding tax debt.

Fraudsters contact people by phone or email and claim to be with the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA). The Scammer will attempt to get the individual to pay "outstanding" taxes by using prepaid debit or credit cards or a money transfer business (Western Union for example). The Scammer may also be for your identification - Social Insurance Number, banking information etc. There are at least 2 variations of this scam:

1. There is notification by email or phone that a the "CRA" has a refund pending for the recipient and that the refund will only be released when certain personal information is provided.

2. Consumers and businesses receive a notification by email or phone that they owe "back taxes" as the result of an audit. The payment must be made immediately to avoid a fine or possible legal action against them. In some cases, individuals are told they will be deported if the taxes are not paid right away.

Authorities believe that the CRA scammers are looking at public online phone directories like Canada 411 to pick foreign-sounding names to target. The fraudsters are hoping their victims are recent immigrants who will be less familiar with the practices of the CRA and will therefore be more likely to fall for the scam.

In some cases the phone calls have escalated to the point where the telephone messages tell you court proceedings have begun, or threatens liens on your property, and warns that the police have a warrant out for your arrest.

The CRA:

never sends emails with a link and ask you to divulge personal or financial information. The only time an email link will be provided is if you phone the CRA to request a form or a link for specific information. The CRA agent will forward the information you are requesting to your email during the telephone call. This is the only circumstance in which the CRA will send an email containing links.

never leaves personal information on an answering machine.

never asks for information about your passport, health card, or driver's licence

never requests payments by prepaid credit cards.

never asks for personal information of any kind by email or text message.

never gives taxpayer information to another person, unless formal authorization is provided by the taxpayer.

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