Advice from a Toronto accountant about how to protect yourself against CRA fraud
Over the past few months there has been a rise in Canadian residents falling victim of Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) scams. A man in Peterborough was defrauded out of $2,400. Residents in south-central Ontario and Chilliwack, British Columbia have also fallen prey to this scam.
Although, in a previous post, I’ve provided advice about how to protect yourself against tax evasion scams, I think its worth mentioning the importance of protecting yourself against such frauds, especially given the rise of these unfortunate defrauding cases.
In this article, I share with you eight CRA fraud prevention tips that will hopefully help you avoid falling victim of a CRA scam.
Typically, victims of the scams receive a phone call from someone pretending to be a representative of Canada Revenue Agency. The fake CRA representative tells the victims that they owe x amount of dollars or their assets will be seized. Alternatively, theses scams could be communicated by email, text message or on the answering machine.
Here are eight crucial fraud prevention tips from an accountant in the Toronto area
If you receive a call from someone saying that they are from the CRA use these guidelines to help verify if the call is legitimate:
- The scammers can be extremely assertive and aggressive. Remember the the CRA will never use coercive language or be aggressive or try to intimidate you.
- The scammers may threaten to arrest you or send you to the police. Remember the CRA will never threaten you to arrest you or take you to the police.
- If someone calls you saying that they are from the CRA and asking for personal information and/or asks you to give them money. Do not take immediate action. Hang up and verify the information by calling the CRA through the official phone number.
- The CRA will never ask you for credit card information or for prepayments by prepaid credit cards or your personal information by email or text message. So if you receive mail, an email or a text message requesting personal information, know that these are fraudulent and never respond to them. Hang up.
- Before you take any action or share any personal or financial information, hang up and call a trusted family member, friend, your bank or your chartered accountant to get a second opinion on the call.
- Ask yourself:
- Is it really safe to transfer money to someone I do not know?
- Is there a legitimate reason that the CRA may be calling? Do I have a tax balance outstanding?
- Is the requester asking for information I would not include with my tax return? Is the requester asking for information I know the CRA already has on file for me?
- Am I confident I know who is asking for the information?
- Ask the caller for their ID and verify the callers ID by calling the CRA directly.
- Check that status of your account by either logging in to MyAccount or calling CRA directly.
Is the message that you receive from CRA legitimate? when in doubt, ask your Chartered Accountant
If you are unsure if the phone call, email or text message is legitimate or a fraudulent message, ask your Chartered Accountant. Your Chartered Accountant should know how the CRA communicates with taxpayers and your Chartered Accountant should be able to distinguish between fraudulent communication and legitimate communication from the CRA.
If you require consultation or a have any accounting inquires, please do not hesitate to contact us. S&P Accounting Services has experienced Chartered Accountants and we serve clients in in Toronto and other cities in the GTA which include, North York, Thornhill, Richmond Hill and Vaughan.
Polina Presman, CPA, CA
Shani Marzin, CPA, CA
S&P Accounting Services LLP
2727 Steeles Ave. W. Suite 300
North York, ON, M3J 3G9