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Is it Really the Canada Revenue Agency Contacting You?
One of the most common problems we face in our connected world today is scammers. They are constantly invading our privacy by pretending to be legitimate agencies. As a result, we are either scammed out of something or are refusing to engage with real agencies such as the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Being that the Canada Revenue Agency is a regular scapegoat for scammers, they have created steps to help you validate if it really is them contacting you.
How to make sure the caller is a CRA employee
A legitimate CRA employee will identify themselves when they contact you. They will give you their name & phone number. To protect yourself, make sure the caller is a CRA employee before you give any information over the phone. This will prevent you from giving money or personal information to a scammer.
If you’re suspicious, this is how you can make sure the caller is from the CRA:
– Tell the caller you want to verify their identity before giving any personal information
– Request & make a note of their name, phone number, & office location
– End the call
– Contact the CRA & check that the information provided during the call was legitimate
Why the CRA May Contact You
The most common reason the CRA may contact you is if they are reviewing your income tax or benefit return. This could include reviewing your GST/HST, T4 or T5 information. As a result, you may receive a letter or a phone call telling you that the CRA is reviewing your return. If you’re registered for email notifications, they will send you an email telling you that your letter is available in My Account. In most cases, the review is a routine check. It’s important that you reply & send all the information requested as soon as possible. This will help them review your file quickly & easily.
It’s also important that you call the number in your letter in either of the following situations:
– You can’t get the documents the CRA wants
– You need more time to reply
By calling, they can give you more time to respond if you need it. They can also help you if you have any questions. If you don’t reply, they may disallow a claim/deduction & you could end up with a balance owing.
When to be Suspicious
There are red flags suggesting a caller is a scammer including (but not limited to) the caller:
– does not give you proof of working for the CRA e.g. their name & office location
– pressures you to act now or uses aggressive language
– asks you to pay with prepaid credit cards, gift cards, cryptocurrency etc.
– asks for information not on your tax return & not related to money you owe
– recommends that you apply for benefits
For more tips and helpful information, visit Be Scam Smart or Slam the Scam.
Want to report a potential scam?
You should report a scam if you’ve been a victim of fraud or been tricked into giving out personal or financial information.
– To report a scam, visit Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre; follow the instructions on the Report Fraud tab, or call 1-888-495-8501.
If you think you may be the victim of fraud or provided personal or financial information, contact all the following:
– Local police service
– Your financial institution
– Credit reporting agencies
You should contact the CRA if you:
– think your CRA user ID or the password has been compromised
– want to disable online access to your information on the CRA’s sign-in services
– want to re-activate online access to your information after it’s been disabled
If you have questions we’re here to help! Contact us.
Photo by Michael Geiger on Unsplash