It’s that time of year when everyone is gearing up to prepare their taxes for filing next month.
But along with the proverbial tax filing, comes a chance for fraudsters and scammers to take advantage of the situation.
While frauds and scams are prevalent at anytime in any given community, the RCMP is warning people this month about the Canada Revenue Scam.
The scam involves receiving a phone call impersonating the Canada Revenue Service (CRA) and claiming a recent audit has identified problems from past filed taxes. The caller then says a repayment is required immediately. The caller, police say, will often threaten that failure to pay will result in additional fees and/or jail time or deportation. The payment request is asked to be sent by a money service, pre-paid cards or gift cards.
The second part of the scam involves consumers getting an email saying a refund is pending from the CRA. The email will include a link, which sends the person to a website that mimics the actual CRA. You will then be prompted to put in personal information before getting the refund, which claims to be an email money transfer.
Victims that input their information, including Social Insurance Number (SIN), date of birth, and banking information, can suffer from identity fraud since no refund is ever issued.
Mounties recommend the following to protect yourself:
- The CRA may contact a taxpayer by phone or mail, but they will not use forceful language or threaten a taxpayer with arrest or jail time.
- If in doubt, contact the CRA to confirm you owe back taxes or are entitled to a refund at http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/cntct/menu-eng.html
- Never provide personal information to anyone over the phone. Ask who is calling, document information and do your homework.
- The CRA would never request payment by money service business or i-tunes gift cards.
- For more information about fraud scams involving the CRA, visit Protect yourself against fraud.
- If you’ve shared personal information, contact Equifax and Trans Union to place fraud alerts on your account.
- If you’ve mistakenly shared banking information, contact your financial institution to place alerts on your account.
- If you receive a phone call or email from someone claiming to represent the CRA, it is a scam. Simply hang up on the call and if it is an email, delete it.
- If you were tricked into providing personal information, contact your local police agency. Otherwise , report the incident the Canadian Anti Fraud Centre at http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/reportincident-signalerincident/index-eng.htm