What are they?

In CRA scams, tax payers receive fraudulent communications via text message, email, phone or letter that claim to be from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The fraudsters pressure the victims to either pay an outstanding balance or provide personal information in order to receive a tax refund.

How they typically work:

  1. You receive a call or voice recording from an individual claiming to represent the CRA and  demanding immediate payment for taxes that you allegedly owe.
  2. The fraudster or recording may threaten that if you don’t make a payment immediately, a warrant will be issued for your arrest.
  3. The fraudster requests personal and banking information, such as your Social Insurance Number or credit card number.
  4. The victim loses the money they spent on the fake debt and they get their identity stolen because they shared sensitive information with the fraudster.

Signs of a CRA scam

  • The request to pay your taxes is urgent and requires you to pay through unusual methods of payment, such as bitcoin or prepaid credit cards.
  • The caller uses aggressive language or threatens you with arrest. 
””

How to protect yourself

  • Provide personal or banking information when solicited by an unknown party unless you initiated the contact.
  • Rely on call display information to authenticate the caller, as numbers can be spoofed to appear to originate from a legitimate source.
  • Rush into making a payment, especially if you are being threatened. Take your time to understand the legitimacy of the situation.
  • Agree to meet someone in a public place to make a payment to the CRA.