CRA Scams and How to Avoid Falling for Them

Have you received a strongly worded e-mail, malicious text, or aggressive phone call from someone claiming to be from the CRA? Did the person threaten to send you to jail unless you pay x number of dollars? If so – you were likely the target of a scam.

CRA scams happen daily in various forms, including donation tax shelter scams, telephone phishing schemes, e-mail phishing scams and sweepstakes scams. We want to help you avoid this situation by educating you on the ways to identify legitimate communications.

Members of our staff shared their own experiences regarding the targeted scams. For example, one of our staff members received the following automated voicemail message:

“We just received a notification regarding your tax filing from the headquarters. There are four serious allegations pressed on your name at this moment. We request you to get back to us so that we can discuss about this case, before taking any legal action against you. The number to reach us is 1-226-974-2546. I repeat: 1-226-974-2546. Thank you.”

The employee knew that it was a scam call immediately, because the message did not identify the name of the person he or she was trying to reach, it was a robot and the content was vague.

Another staff member recalled the time that a frantic client contacted our firm, demanding to speak to her accountant. She was sure that she had made all the necessary payments to CRA, so she panicked when she was notified of a missed payment. She thought that our firm may have made a crucial mistake – but in reality, it was a scam.

Unfortunately, Canadian taxpayers fall for these schemes daily, resulting in identity theft and financial theft.

Things to Note

The CRA will never:

  • Ask for personal information by email or text message
  • Request payment by prepaid credit card
  • Share your tax information with another person or organization, unless you have agreed that it can be shared
  • Leave personal information on an answering machine

If the call sounds suspicious, it likely is. If you are in doubt, we advise that you check My Account, call 1-800-959-8281, or contact your accountant.