CRA OR SCAMMER: Who is it?
Most, if not all of us, have received a call from someone claiming to be from CRA. They may threaten arrest or other such actions if a tax bill is not immediately paid via iTunes or Bitcoin, for example. While some of these calls have become easier to identify as fraudulent, scamming techniques and systems constantly evolve. On May 26, 2021, CRA released a Tax Tip which discussed why a taxpayer might be contacted by CRA, when to be suspicious, and how to report potential scams.
Some signs indicating that the caller may be a scammer include:
- they do not provide proof of CRA employment (such as a name and an office location);
- they pressure you to act immediately;
- they ask you to pay with gift cards, cryptocurrency or some other unusual manner;
- they ask for information not normally included on your tax return or not related to amounts owed CRA, such as a credit card number; and
- they recommend you apply for benefits and ask for related information. To verify a caller is a CRA employee, CRA recommends that an individual:
- tell the caller that they first want to verify their identity;
- ask for, and note the caller’s name, phone number, and office location;
- call the CRA phone number from the official CRA website to confirm that the call was legitimate; and
- call the CRA employee back.
To report a scam, go to antifraudcentre.ca or call 1-888-495-8501.
ACTION ITEM: Follow these instructions if you suspect a call is from a fraudster or scammer. Give us a call if you are uncertain how to respond to a call from CRA, whether or not it sounds legitimate.