Canada Revenue reminds Albertans to be aware of scams

A screen shot of a previous warning from Saskatoon police about a tax refund scam after emails sent purporting to be from Canada Revenue Agency. Jeff Martin / Global Okanagan

As GST cheques and carbon rebates begin to arrive, the Canada Revenue Agency warns Albertans to stay vigilant about possible scams.

Criminals take many opportunities throughout the year to catch people off guard, and any time taxes or rebates are involved there’s a risk of them impersonating the CRA.

“Some of the more popular scams we’re seeing are where criminals are pretending to be Canada Revenue Agency,” said T.J. Madigan, communications manager for the Canada Revenue Agency. “Sometimes looking for information, sometimes trying to collect money, or sometimes offering a refund or announcing that there’s a benefit available.

“They send them out by email, sometimes by text message, or even through phone calls.”

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According to Madigan, the large array of services, rebates, and benefits provided by the CRA makes them a target for scammers to impersonate. Many Albertans expect to make or receive payments from the Agency all throughout the year.

“They are sophisticated scammers, and they are playing it smart, to catch people off guard and get them to reveal personal information,” Madigan said. “We do see it year round though, it’s not limited to just during income tax filing season. It could be tied

to benefits if they think there’s a higher chance of catching people off guard.”

While the criminals are getting more difficult to spot with each new scam, Madigan has a few tips to protect yourself.

“I think the most important thing people can do is to educate themselves and also to always be aware and checking,” Madigan explained.

“As a rule, CRA doesn’t send text messages. If we were to send an email, it would never contain an exact dollar amount or any account-specific information. If it has a link, it’s not an email from CRA. We don’t send emails with live links.”

If you are suspicious of any texts, emails, or phone calls, you can report them to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.


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