CRA Scam Alert
In recent days, the Medicine Hat Police Service has received complaints of a male caller contacting potential victims in our area, claiming to be collecting a debt owed to the Federal government. The male attempts to convince the victim to clear up the debt by sending money or gift cards, such as prepaid I-tunes cards.
The so-called “CRA scams” began emerging in 2013, and have since become a popular tool for defrauding people over the phone or by email. Any pushback from the victim is usually met with immediate threats of calling the police, sending Canada Revenue Agency employees to the door, blacklisting a social insurance number, or even jail time. The hope is that the victim will be frightened into complying.
As a reminder, here are some things the CRA will never do:
- Threaten you with immediate arrest or prison sentence.
- Ask for information about your passport, health card, or driver’s licence.
- Request personal information to be sent by email.
- Email you a link requesting you fill in an online form with personal or financial details.
- Send you a link to your refund by email or text message.
- Setup an in-person meeting in a public place to take a payment.
- Demand immediate payment by prepaid credit card.
However in certain circumstances the CRA may:
- Notify you by email when new mail is available for you to view in CRA secure portals such as My Account, My Business Account or Represent a Client.
- Email you a link to a CRA webpage, form, or publication in response if you call the CRA looking for that information.
- Send you a notice of assessment or re-assessment by mail, or notify you by email when it is available to view in CRA secure portals.
- Ask for financial information such as the name of your bank and its location.
- Request payment for a tax debt through any of the CRA’s payment options (http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/mkpymnt-eng.html)
- Take legal action to recover the money you owe if you refuse to pay your debt.
If you suspect a scam, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online at www.antifraudcentre.ca or toll free at 1-888-495-8501.
If you believe that you have been the victim of a CRA scam, contact the MHPS at 403-529-8481 or attend the MHPS in person at 884 2nd Street SE to speak to an officer.
Insp Joe West
Operational Services Division
Medicine Hat Police Service