Throughout the year, scammers try to dupe you into believing they are representatives of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Here are just some of the hooks scammers may try to use to trick you into divulging personal information:

  • “I’m an Officer with the CRA and we have proof that you filed your taxes incorrectly. You owe $3557 in back taxes and you need to make this payment in bitcoin immediately to avoid further penalties.“
  • “You owe money to the CRA. We will send your file to a collection agency. Contact us now.”
  • “You have a refund of $869 this year. Click here to claim it. Link expires in 5 days.”

3 ways to spot this year’s tax season scams

The calls, emails and texts can look and sound authentic – and threatening. There are very often tell-tale signs, however, that you’re about to be scammed:

  1. Does the call or voicemail make threats about debt that you owe the CRA?
  2. Does the email, call or text convey a sense of urgency or a warning that they’ll contact police if you don’t reply?
  3. Does the email or text ask you to click on a link and verify your identity by entering personal information?

The CRA has information on its website about how to verify if it is the CRA that is legitimately trying to contact you, and a video that can be shared to spread the word about these types of scams. And don’t trust that it’s the CRA because your Caller ID says so – scammers can fake that too.

An example of a fake email that purports to come from the CRA

Remember, the CRA will not do the following:

  • Send an email with a link and ask you to divulge personal or financial information.
  • Ask for personal information of any kind by email or text message.
  • Request payments by prepaid credit cards, on-line music streaming sites or bitcoin.

If you receive a call saying you owe money to the CRA, you can call them directly or check your online CRA account.