You are sitting at home one evening, relaxing after dinner. It’s been a long day, some of it good, some not so good. The phone rings, an 800 number and you answer any ways. It’s the Canada Revenue Agency. They are wondering why you have not responded to their correspondence. They have sent 3 letters advising you of your current tax debt. You say you haven’t received any; which sounds defensive. You are then told CRA is about to commence collection proceedings which will include seizing some of your assets. Don’t worry you are told, you can clear up the entire matter this evening by using your credit or debit card to pay the entire balance. Sounds okay, maybe.
As you reach for your wallet it occurs to you this might not be legitimate. You ask for some identification. Politely you are given an identification number and a phone number you can call. Yes of course you call and the identification is verified and you are transferred to the first caller. You figure, well, if this is a mistake, it can be resolved and CRA will refund the money if it turns out you didn’t actually owe it.
Wrong. This is a scam, start to finish. It’s not CRA and your money is not coming back. If you receive such a call, you can hang up, you can report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre or 1-888-495-8501.
These callers are convincing. But know this – CRA:
- never requests prepaid credit cards, or Western Union, Money Gram or bank’s E-Transfer service;
- never asks for information about a client’s passport, health card, driver’s licence;
- never shares a client’s taxpayer information with another person, unless they have provided the appropriate authorization;
- never leaves personal information on the taxpayer’s answering machine or asks the taxpayer to leave a message on an answering machine containing personal information