CRA telephone scam making the rounds again

The Canada Revenue Agency headquarters in Ottawa is shown on November 4, 2011. Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press

EDMONTON- “I just don’t want anybody to get caught,” said Tammy A. who received a scam call earlier this week.

The caller left a message telling her she had comitted a criminal offence and needed to get in touch with the Canada Revenue Agency immediately.

Tammy does not want her last name used but admits, “I did think it was real, my first thought was what happened, what did I do wrong? They take you off guard. It’s not often you get a message like that.”

The message included a call-back number which Tammy dialed. She spoke with a man who told her she owed nearly $3000 in back taxes from 2008-2013.

She called her accountant next as well as CRA directly. That’s when she realized she was the victim of a scam.

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In a written statement to Global News, CRA Spokesman Randy Westerman said, “The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is aware of telephone scams where the caller claims to be from the CRA but is not, and is asking Canadians to beware. These calls are fraudulent and could result in identity and financial theft.”

The statement goes on to say that “when the CRA calls you, it has established procedures in place to make sure your personal information is protected.”

If you want to confirm the authenticity of a call head to the CRA’s telephone numbers page.  The number for business-related calls is 1-800-959-5525. The number for calls about individual concerns is 1-800-959-8281.

The CRA also suggests asking yourself the following questions when you may be in doubt:

• Is there a reason that the CRA may be calling? Do I have a tax balance outstanding?
• Is the requester asking for information I would not include with my tax return?
• Is the requester asking for information I know the CRA already has on file for me?
• How did the requester get my email address or telephone number?
• Am I confident I know who is asking for the information?

The CRA:

• never requests prepaid credit cards;
• never asks for information about your passport, health card, or driver’s licence;
• never shares your taxpayer information with another person, unless you have provided the appropriate authorization; and
• never leaves personal information on your answering machine or asks you to leave a message containing your personal information on an answering machine.

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To learn more about the CRA’s guidelines and how to protect yourself visit the CRA website.

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