Canada Revenue Agency scams
By Amanda Owusu
Posted on April 19, 2021
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) scam is one of the most popular scams going on in Canada right now and has been targeting people since 2014. CTV News, a popular Canadian news channel, reports that more than $18.5 million has been lost as a result of this scam. It’s important to be aware of the warning signs of this scam, so you don’t fall victim to it either. This short article will explain what the scam is, how it’s usually done, and what signs to look out for. We’ll also tell you what to do if you get one of these phone calls.
The Canada Revenue Agency scam is a form of fraud that targets people in Canada. The scammers pose as government employees, and they intimidate people into repaying false debts. People are being targeted by these scammers through phone, email, texts, and even instant messaging platforms. Sometimes you may receive emails with a link to a fake Canada Revenue Agency website containing “online refund forms” or forms that ask you for personal information. You may also receive a call from someone posing as a Canada Revenue Agency employee, claiming that you owe money and demanding you to pay it back.
The scammers will typically call you and introduce themselves as government employees; they’ll tell you that you are under investigation for tax fraud and evasion. They will then tell you to give them your banking information, to transfer the money via wire, or to purchase prepaid cards to settle this issue. They will also use an authoritative tone to scare you and sometimes even threaten to send the police after you.
Alternatively, the scammers may send you a link to a fake Canada Revenue Agency website that will ask you to put in your personal information such as banking information and personal details. This scam is a bit easier to spot because the Canada Revenue Agency will never email you asking you to complete a form and provide personal and financial details. It’s best to create an account on the Canada Revenue Agency to keep up to date with any changes or concerns. If you know what’s going on with your account, scammers will be less likely to trick you.
The Canada Revenue Agency will NEVER:
- Demand immediate payment by Interac e-transfer, bitcoin, prepaid credit cards, or gift cards such as iTunes or Amazon
- Threaten you with arrest or sending the police
- Use aggressive language
- Ask you for information about your passport, health card, or driver’s license
- Leave voicemails that are threatening or include personal or financial information
- Use text messages or instant messaging like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger
- Set up meetings in public places to take payment
- Send you an email with a link to your refund
- Email you a link asking you to fill in an online form with personal or financial details
To determine if you are being scammed, look out for the following signs:
- The caller tries to force you to make a payment or give up personal information like your bank details.
- The caller uses aggressive language and threatens you. Real Canada Revenue Agency employees would never do this.
You can find more information about what the Canada Revenue Agency will and won’t do at the agency’s website. The Canadian government also provides samples of what these scams may look like, which you can find here. You should take a look at these samples, so if a scammer ever calls you, you know what to look for.
If you get a call and are not sure what to do, first make sure the caller is a real Canada Revenue Agency employee before you give out any information. If you get a call from the Canada Revenue Agency or from someone pretending to be them, ask for their full name, their work department, and office location. It’s important to write this information down somewhere. You can let them know that you would like to verify their identity first and hang up. If they refuse to give you this information, it is a scam.
However, if you do get the information, you can check if that employee is real by calling 1-800-959-8281. If you received a call about government programs, like student loans or employment insurance, you can call 1-866-864-5823. Call the number and explain that you were contacted by someone claiming to be a government employee and that you would like to confirm their identity before you share any information with them. The Canada Revenue Agency may call you, but this is usually after they have written to you. Whatever the case, it’s best to confirm that the person who contacted you is actually a government employee before giving out any information about yourself.
This is just one of the many scams that happen in Canada. The best defense against these types of scams is information. The more you know, the more protected you will be. You should learn more about the different types of scams there are as well as ways to identify and avoid them. The resources below are a great place to start and will help you protect yourself from being scammed.
If you think that you have been the victim of a scam, call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 as soon as you can and report what happened.
What to expect from the Canada Revenue Agency:
How to protect yourself from identity theft:
Other scams that target newcomers in Canada:
What to do if you were scammed?: