March is Fraud Prevention Month
Protect Your Identity! A reminder to all Canadians to beware of telephone calls, mail, or email that claim to be from the CRA but are not. Canadians should especially beware of phishing scams asking for their personal information, such as a social insurance number, credit card, bank account, and passport numbers. Some of these scams ask for this personal information directly, and others refer the taxpayer to a Web site resembling the CRA's where the person is asked to verify their identity by entering personal information. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre advises consumers not to open unsolicited emails or when the sender is unknown. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) reports that tax scams can involve two variations:
The first involves fraudsters calling consumers impersonating the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), claiming a recent audit has identified discrepancies from past filed taxes. Repayment is required immediately. Fraudsters threaten consumers that failure to pay will result in additional fees and/or jail time or deportation. Fraudsters request payment by a money service business or pre-paid cards / gift cards (iTunes).
The second involves consumers receiving an email indicating a refund is pending from the CRA. The email includes a link that directs consumers to a website that mimics the actual CRA. Consumers are urged to input their information before receiving the refund (email money transfer). Victims that input their information, including Social Insurance Number (SIN), Date of Birth (DOB), banking information, are subject to identity fraud. No refund is ever issued.
Details on one of the more recent scams can be found on the RCMP website. The CRA has well-established practices to protect the confidentiality of taxpayer information. Never provide personal information over the phone or email. Keep your SIN,access codes, user ID, passwords and PINs secret. For a list of other measures to consider to protect your identy check out the CRA website section on fraud prevention.
Another resource to learn how to better recognize scams, report deceptive telemarketing, and if personal or financial information has been unwittingly provided, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police website has tips for you. Anyone who receives a suspicious communication should immediately report it to firstname.lastname@example.org To join in the discussion and help to crush the CRA scam. #CrushTheCRAscam #CombattezLaFraudeARC