Anyone with a credit card should always be hyper-vigilante for fraudulent activity on their accounts. However, that’s not the only type of fraud we have to worry about. Nowadays we are receiving texts, calls, e-mails all with the same end goal: to steal our money and identity.

With the holidays fast approaching, we are in peak fraud season. It’s like hunting season for scammers. The Canada Revenue Agencies (CRA) website has some great tips to protect yourself and what to watch for, here’s a few:

There are many fraud types, including new ones invented daily. You should be cautious when you receive, either by telephone, mail, text message or email, a fraudulent communication that claims to be from the CRA requesting personal information such as a social insurance number, credit card number, bank account number, or passport number.

These scams often insist that this personal information is needed so that you can receive a refund or a benefit payment. In extreme cases they may use threatening or coercive language to scare individuals into paying fictitious debt to the CRA.

Sometimes you are urged to visit a fake CRA website where you are then asked to verify your identity by entering personal information. These are scams and you should never respond or click on any of the links provided.

If you receive a call saying you owe money to the CRA,  call or check My Account to be sure.

If you have signed up for online mail (available through My Account, My Business Account, and Represent a Client), the CRA will do the following:

  • send a registration confirmation email to the address you provided for online mail service for an individual or a business; and
  • send an email to the address you provided to notify you when new online mail is available to view in the CRA’s secure online services portal.

The CRA will not do the following:

  • send email with a link and ask you to divulge personal or financial information;
  • ask for personal information of any kind by email or text message.
  • request payments by prepaid credit cards.
  • give taxpayer information to another person, unless formal authorization is provided by the taxpayer.
  • leave personal information on an answering machine.

Possible Exceptions:

If you call the CRA to request a form or a link for specific information, a CRA agent will forward the information you are requesting to your email during the time of the phone call. This is the only circumstance in which the CRA will send an email containing links.

Still unsure? Double check if you:

  • Signed up to receive online mail through My Account, My Business Account, or Represent a Client?
  • Provided an email address on your income tax and benefit return to receive mail online?
  • Are expecting more money from the CRA?
  • Think it sounds too good to be true.
  • Did not provide the information the requester is asking for on your tax return.

Think you’re a victim?

You should report deceptive telemarketing to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online, or by calling 1-888-495-8501.