It is that time of year when Canadians are in the process of filing their income tax returns and either waiting for refunds or making additional payments. The Niagara Regional Police Service has received numerous complaints from residents that have been targeted by a number of common tax scam.
Victims have been targeted by phone and email from individuals claiming to work for the Canada Revenue Agency requesting personal information such as social insurance numbers and banking information to either deposit refunds or make payments for taxes owed. In some cases, victims are told that they have an outstanding balance that, if not paid immediately, will result in arrest, deportation or the seizure of homes, vehicles, bank accounts and other assets. Payment is demanded through the purchase of pre-paid credit cards or e-mail transfer.
These types of communication are meant to elicit a sense of stress and urgency. Do not take immediate action and verify the legitimacy of the communication before providing personal information or money. Take the time to consider:
CRA will not request personal information by email
Has the information requested been provided to CRA previously or is the type of information requested not the type of information you are used to providing to CRA
Are you expecting a refund
Is the method of payment suspicious, for example, a request to purchase pre-paid give cards and provide the caller with those numbers or send money by email.
Before taking action, contact the Canada Revenue Agency directly by obtaining phone numbers from the CRA’s webpage to verify that money is owed to or by you, or the CRA requires additional information. Do not rely on the phone numbers provided by the caller, mail or email sender, and never click on a link in an email. While CRA does contact people by phone, scammers can spoof phone numbers to appear as if the number belongs to CRA.
These scams are continuously changing and evolving. For more information on these scams visit the Canada Revenue Agency’s webpage http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/menu-eng.html
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