Tax season is upon us, which means Canadians are starting to receive their tax refunds—along with fraudulent phone calls, emails and texts either offering or demanding high sums.
In recent years, scammers have been impersonating official agents, issuing threats of court charges, jail time and even deportation for failure to pay a fake outstanding tax debt.
If you encounter this phone call, know that a real CRA agent will never issue threats or pressure you to deposit money or provide information. Plenty of Canadians have caught on and are warning their peers on social media:
#SCAM #ALERT / #WARNING:
Do not click if received! Block this number ASAP! Please share with friends and loved ones! #CRA @CanRevAgency #canada #ontario #toronto @TorontoPolice @rcmpgrcpolice pic.twitter.com/OtPvt5iZZ1
— Shai Laserson (@ShaiLaserson) April 8, 2018
Got a call today from what I assume was a #CRAscam guy, but he didn't wait for the beep so I didn't hear where he claimed to be calling from. Just that if I don't return his call, well, all he can do is wish me good luck. Thanks, man!
— Megan Zinn (@meganzinn) March 26, 2018
There are many variations of email scams floating out there, too. A recent one you may have come across has obvious red flags.
Where to begin? Firstly, the phoney email comes from a suspicious address: CRA@paymentsplatform.info. Real CRA emails have this as part of the address: @cra-arc.gc.ca. Oh, and all of their email correspondences will include French translations.
The graphic that sits atop the fake email looks like it was hastily put together. Real CRA emails usually don’t have any graphics or images at all and never include external links. If you’ve signed up for email notifications from the government agency, it will do just that—notify you to log into your myCRA account for more information, but it will never direct you to a specific link.
One of the biggest tells in that fake email is the rampant grammar and spelling errors. Who doesn’t look forward to receiving their Tax “Refound”?
Sometimes, this CRA INTERAC E-Transfer scam looks more polished:
@_HaltonHills @TownOfMilton the @CanRevAgency will not send your tax refund to you by @INTERAC #ETransfer. Don’t fall for this #CRAScam. #StayWoke #WhatTheFraud #MiltonON #HaltonON #KeepYourMoney ^pk pic.twitter.com/BcLlTsfGAm
— HRPS Milt HHills (@HRPSMiltHH) March 22, 2018
But just for reference, here’s what a real CRA email correspondence looks like:
(Names and dates redacted)