CRA Scam Warning
To coincide with tax season we are getting regular reports that the CRA scammers are back in full force. As such the Medicine Hat Police Service would like to issue a reminder about the important of protecting your personal information and not giving out financial information to anyone you cannot verify as a Canada Revenue Agency employee.
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. The most common scam is fairly straightforward. Someone claiming to be from the CRA calls and tells the victim that they have made an error on their tax return or neglected to file it. The fraudster then asks for financial or banking information in order to settle an alleged debt to the government
Any push-back from the victim is usually met with immediate threats of calling the police, sending CRA employees to the door, blacklisting a social insurance number, or jail time. The hope is that the caller will be frightened into complying. Often times the scammers request payment of the outstanding debt in the form of gift cards.
As a heads up, 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, iTunes or bitcoin.
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.