Over the past while there have been numerous reports of individuals (scammers) impersonating CRA collections agents over the phone and demanding payments for alleged tax debts. The calls can be aggressive, intimidating, and may even threaten arrest by the RCMP or other officials. The scammers may also request payment via various means such as regular or prepaid credit cards, wire/bank transfers, ITunes cards, or, simply, cash. In some cases, the scammer has the target’s personal information, such as their address. It has been reported that some scammers go so far as to offer to meet the target at the nearest bank machine.
If an individual receives a suspicious call purporting to be from the CRA, care should be given to ensure no personal information is disclosed. An individual may consider obtaining identifying information from the caller (such as a name, phone number, office location, and Agent ID number) and then calling CRA on their publically listed number (1-800-959-8281) to confirm that the call is legitimate.
The CRA has also stated that they will not:
• email a link requesting that recipients fill in an online form with personal or financial details;
• set-up an in-person meeting in a public place to take a payment;
• demand immediate payment by prepaid credit card; or,
• threaten with immediate arrest or prison sentence.
To report suspected fraudulent activity, taxpayers may contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at www.antifraudcentre.ca, or, call toll-free at 1-888-495-8501. If a taxpayer believes that they may be the victim of fraud or have given personal or financial information unwittingly, they could contact their local police service, financial institution, and credit reporting agencies.
Action Item: Let your household know that these fraudulent interactions are becoming more and more common. When in doubt, gather information, but don’t give any.
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