As tax season rapidly approaches perpetrators of the CRA Tax Scam continue to ramp up their aggressive tactics in our area. Kawartha Lakes Police are seeing an increase in the number of people contacting them with regards to the scam and trying to reassure themselves that they do not owe the Canada Revenue Agency money.
In the last few days police have received reports of people being contacted via the telephone, email and text messaging. The scammers are using high pressure tactics to have the potential victims forward them money and/or personal financial information. Usually the call or message starts out very civil but when the victim begins to question the motive of the caller, the callers will up the ante and resort to becoming verbally abusive; usually threatening arrest by the police for non-compliance with their demands.
Police remind residents to not respond to these inquiries until they can verify the identity of the caller. There are occasions when The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will contact people about their taxes. That is why it is so important to verify who you are speaking with before you provide any information. Do not provide any credit card information, social insurance card information until this verification has taken place. The following numbers will put you in touch with the CRA:
For Business Cases: 1.800.959.5525
For Individual Cases: 1.800.959.8281
If you suspect you are being pressured by a scammer contact the police at 705.324.5252 or the Canadian Anti – Fraud Centre toll free at 1.888.495.8501.
The CRA website is a great source of information about the scams and even has actual recorded conversations of the attempted scams posted at: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/scrty/frdprvntn/frdlnttlphn-eng.html
The CRA also lists the following regarding how they contact people regarding their taxes:
If you have signed up for online mail (available through My Account, My Business Account, and Represent a Client),the CRA will do the following:
- send a registration confirmation email to the address you provided for online mail service for an individual or a business; and
- send an email to the address you provided to notify you when new online mail is available to view in the CRA’s secure online services portal.
The CRA will not do the following:
- send email with a link and ask you to divulge personal or financial information;
- ask for personal information of any kind by email or text message:
If you call the CRA to request a form or a link for specific information, a CRA agent will forward the information you are requesting to your email during the telephone call. This is the only circumstance in which the CRA will send an email containing links.
- request payments by prepaid credit cards.
- give taxpayer information to another person, unless formal authorization is provided by the taxpayer.
- leave personal information on an answering machine.
When in doubt, ask yourself the following:
- Did I sign up to receive online mail through My Account, My Business Account, or Represent a Client?
- Did I provide my email address on my income tax and benefit return to receive mail online?
- Am I expecting more money from the CRA?
- Does this sound too good to be true?
- Is the requester asking for information I would not provide in my tax return?
- Is the requester asking for information I know the CRA already has on file for me?
More information is available at http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/scrty/frdprvntn/menu-eng.html