Canadian citizens have been victimized by a number of phone-scammers portraying themselves to be the Canada Revenue Agency, but the latest scam has arguably reached a new low.
These scams commonly involve voicemail messages claiming the victim owes money to the CRA, providing a phone number to call, and even making threats for failure to pay, but the latest scams have also progressed to messages informing victims that “court proceedings” have begun, liens on their property are threatened, there are warrants for their arrest, and the police are on their way to make an arrest.
While some may imagine difficulty in falling for such a scam, many Canadians pay someone else to handle their taxes and do not truly know the ins-and-outs of their taxes and how they are paid. Even the most honest citizens can be tricked into believing a mistake was made on their part if they cannot distinguish between a phone-scam and legitimate legal correspondence from the CRA.
The organization recommends that taxpayers establish an account (called “My Account”) on its secured website. This helps taxpayers to review past returns and find contribution-limits on savings accounts and retirement plans, and the CRA will also verify your registration online and notify you via e-mail when a message has been sent to your account.
The CRA will never:
- Contact a citizen for personal or financial information
- Request payment from a prepaid credit card
- Provide personal information to a third-party
- Divulge personal information in a voicemail message
The CRA also warns citizens never to call back a number left by a potential scammer, and anyone who is contacted by a scammer is encouraged to report the matter to local police as soon as possible.