Have you every had one of those calls that gets you all bent of of shape because you think your are in trouble but something just doesn’t sound quite right? Have a listen to this call below I received today from the “Canada Revenue Agency” stating I am under investigation. Note that the call doesn’t actually say who they are calling, and also doesn’t leave a call back number.
If the Canada Revenue Agency were to be contacting you about a problem they would do so via Canada Post (snail mail) several times before taking the action of calling you. They would also actually say who they were calling for and would leave the CRA Call Centre number.
The ‘scammers’ who are doing this (much like the “You have won a Westjet Holiday” calls) are harvesting for vulnerable people to take advantage of. In this case they will tell you aggressively that you owe money and have to pay now or there will be legal repercussions. They may even say that the fastest way to pay is with “prepaid” credit cards. THAT is definitely a sign of a scam no matter who you re talking to.
You will NEVER receive a call from CRA or a financial institution and have them ask you to verify who you are by giving them your personal information. You will receive a letter in the mail stating that you need to contact them (sometimes with a reference number) at which point they will be able to verify it is you who is calling.
Best thing to do is just hang up on these scammers. However, if you feel you have been scammed, call your local police and file a report and immediately contact your bank. They will likely provide you assistance. You will want to contact Equifax Canada and TransUnion Canada whom are the two national credit bureau’s and register a fraud alert with them.
Contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
The following is directly from the Canada Revenue Agency “Protect Yourself Against Fraud” web site.
Know how to recognize a scam
Examples of fraudulent communications
There are many fraud types, including new ones invented daily.
Taxpayers should be vigilant when they receive, either by telephone, mail, text message or email, a fraudulent communication that claims to be from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) requesting personal information such as a social insurance number, credit card number, bank account number, or passport number.
These scams may insist that this personal information is needed so that the taxpayer can receive a refund or a benefit payment. Cases of fraudulent communication could also involve threatening or coercive language to scare individuals into paying fictitious debt to the CRA. Other communications urge taxpayers to visit a fake CRA website where the taxpayer is then asked to verify their identity by entering personal information. These are scams and taxpayers should never respond to these fraudulent communications or click on any of the links provided.