Vancouver, BC – Every year BBB reminds British Columbians about Canadian income tax scams threatening to snatch away your tax return. Usually the scam involves an email phishing scheme designed to prey on those unaware of Canada Revenue Agency rules.
Earlier this year BBB serving Mainland BC released information on just such an email scam in order to raise awareness in the public, however there is also a CRA phone scam does not want to go away.
“This has been in the news a dozen times this year,” says Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor for BBB Serving Mainland BC. “It seems now that everyone has filed taxes, the threatening phone calls are heating up. Every day we are receiving emails or calls from people saying they’ve received aggressive calls from people saying they owe the government money or they will be put in jail. We just want to remind the public that this simply isn’t what the Canada Revenue Agency does.”
The CRA phone scam starts with someone politely saying that after a review the individual owes the government taxes and that they can pay by using a prepaid credit card. However the caller is hesitant to respond if the individual presses for information such as file numbers or other contact information. The discussion can become heated very quickly with the supposed CRA clerk threatening the individual with arrest or in some cases deportation; they even resort to name calling.
BBB has tips on income tax scams:
• The CRA does not solicit by phone for payment or any other personal information.
• If you receive a call like this, say you will contact CRA yourself and hang up.
• Do not return the call with number that shows up on call display; it’s likely spoofed.
• The CRA does not accept payment through prepaid credit or gift cards.
• The CRA will not send emails containing any links.
• The CRA will not request personal information of any kind from a taxpayer by email or text message.
• The CRA will not divulge taxpayer information to another person unless formal authorization is provided by the taxpayer.
• The CRA will not send emails in English or French only: all communications are in both official languages.
• The CRA will not leave any personal information on an answering machine.
• Contact Better Business Bureau serving Mainland BC at 604-682- 2711 bbb. org/mbc
• Contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre