As tax season gets under way, and you organize your information and wait for the tax package from the Canadian Revenue Agency, it's a good time to be on your toes. As always, scammers are looking for new ways to part you from your hard-earned cash.
Masquerading as a legitimate government entity -- and trying to scare you so that your judgment is clouded -- is an old trick. The CRA recently released information that scammers are trying to trick you this tax season by using the agency's name.
Don't Be Fooled by CRA Scams
For the most part, these scams revolve around fraudulent communications. You think that you are being contacted by the CRA, when, in reality, you are being asked for sensitive financial and personal information by a scammer. The Canadian Revenue Agency points out that it will not do the following:
- Ask for any sort of personal information via email.
- Provide taxpayer information to another person (without proper authorization).
- Leave personal information on an answering machine.
Be aware that scammers might try to lure you in by telling you that you have qualified for an additional benefit or refend, or that there is missing information preventing you from receiving your expected income. Additionally, you might be directed to a phishing web site that looks similar to the CRA web site, only to have your information captured as you enter it in.
In order to protect yourself, avoid clicking on links you receive in emails that take you to another web site. Instead, enter the correct address directly into the address bar. You can also visit your local postal outlet or tax office for a CRA tax package with official contact information. Use that information, instead of information provided to you in an email that might be suspect.
You should work to protect yourself against scams. When in doubt, don't believe the communication you receive. You can use more official channels to verify the communication. Also, have an idea of the benefits and refund you are entitled to. Be suspicious of communications that seem to indicate that you are supposed to get more. Also, be wary of communications that claim that you are in big trouble with the CRA for something. Instead, double check using official contact information.
Don't ever give out personal information, including credit card and bank account numbers, identification numbers and other information, to someone who contacts you and asks for it.