Avoid These Canada Revenue Agency Scams
May 18, 2023
Taxes can be confusing and stressful enough, but the situation has also become more convoluted with the recent federal employee strike. Criminals are taking advantage of our confusion by creating sophisticated scams that make tax season a nightmare. They have created scams related to your tax refund, the new Grocery Rebate and gaining access to your CRA My Account.
With your taxes submitted now, it is important to be on the lookout not just for a refund but also for potential scams to gain access to your information and money. By staying informed about fraud prevention, you can stay safe through tax season and beyond.
Canada Revenue Agency Related Scams
Tax Refund Scam
As exciting and relieving as it can be to receive a notice that you are receiving a tax refund, criminals are taking advantage of this government service. Scammers target individuals by text message or email, claiming that the CRA is sending them a tax refund or credit and require your personal information to proceed with depositing the funds.
These fake text messages and emails will ask you to reply or click on a link by an urgent deadline to receive your refund or credit. They will request or demand information such as your social insurance number, date of birth and your name or online banking information to accept the refund by e-transfer.
This is a scam, as your refund will be automatically mailed to you or deposited directly into your account.
Do not reply to the text or email, and do not click any links.
Accessing Your My Account
This scam focuses on your CRA My Account, where scammers pretend there is an error with your account and require your personal information to remedy the situation. They are trying to steal your information and even access your account.
The scammers will send a message to your phone claiming to be from the CRA. They will state that there is an error with your account and it will need to be updated. Then, they will ask you to text back “HELP”, which is often followed by a request for your personal information.
If you receive a text message like this, do not reply to the text or provide them with your personal or financial information. You should also not click any links in the text message.
Grocery Rebate Scam
The new Grocery Rebate is intended to offer relief for 11 million low-income Canadians and families, with up to an additional $467 for eligible couples with children, an additional $234 for single Canadians without children, and an additional $225 for seniors on average.
Scammers are sending emails and text messages claiming to be from the CRA offering the Grocery Rebate. They will entice you to click a link to access the rebate or deposit the rebate in your account. This will allow them to access your personal information and potentially your bank account.
If you receive an email or text message about the Grocery Rebate, do not reply to the email or text or click the link. At the time of this blog post, the Grocery Rebate has yet to pass legislation and has not been put into action.
Signs of a Scam
While there are different types of scams sent through different platforms, there are signs that distinguish scammers from the Canada Revenue Agency.
The CRA will not:
- Ask you by text message or email for:
- personal information
- bank & credit card information
- payments by e-transfers or gift cards
- Use text messages or instant messages to start a conversation with you about your taxes, benefits, or My Account.
- Accept payment through cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, prepaid credit cards or gift cards.
What To Do if You Are a Victim of a Scam
If you or someone you know has become a victim of a scammer impersonating the Canada Revenue Agency, you should report it immediately.
If you have lost money or given your personal information to a scammer, call your local police to file a report. You should also contact your bank and place a stop payment on any cheques or money transfers. You should also report scams and cybercrimes to the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre (CAFC). It gives you the best chance of recovering your funds and your account, but it is not always guaranteed.
Tax season can be stressful for everyone, and scammers are taking advantage of the confusion and anxiety. They are using sophisticated scams that can be difficult to differentiate from real communications from the Canada Revenue Agency, making it more important than ever to be aware of the warning signs.
By staying informed, you can protect yourself from falling victim to these scams and prevent crime.