Identity theft during tax season

Identity theft and fraud are year-round risks, but certain types of scams become more prominent during tax season. You may receive emails, phone calls, messages or any other communication from people claiming to be CRA Representatives.

The main goal of this communication is to obtain your personal details, including your full name, date of birth, your SIN, bank account details, passport number, etc.

The most common example of such a scam is a call from someone impersonating a CRA Agent, asking you to present this information immediately in order to avoid penalties or even jail time.

In order to avoid falling victim of these scams, the first step is to ask yourself "Why is this person contacting me?". Before giving out any personal details, think whether you have ever submitted information like this to CRA in the past and whether it would be required to complete an action.

Here is a helpful guide of things a CRA Representative would never ask or say when communicating with you:

  • ask for information about your passport, health card, or driver's license or any other personal documents

  • demand immediate payment by Interac e-transfer, bitcoin, prepaid credit cards or gift cards from various retailers

  • use aggressive language or threaten you with arrest or police action

  • leave voicemails that are threatening or give personal or financial information

  • give or ask for personal or financial information by email and ask you to click on a link

  • email you a link asking you to fill in an online form with personal or financial details

  • send you an email with a link to your refund

  • set up a meeting with you in a public place to take a payment

  • contact you via text message, Facebook messenger, or other instant messaging apps

If you have doubts whether you are being contacted by a legitimate CRA Agent, ask yourself:

  • Why am I pressured into acting immediately? Am I certain the caller is a CRA employee?

  • Did I file my tax return on time? Have I received a notice of assessment or reassessment saying I owe tax?

  • Is this the first time CRA is contacting me on the matter?

  • Does the CRA have my most recent contact information, such as my email and address?

  • Did I recently send a request to change my business number information?

  • Do I have an instalment payment due soon?

  • Have I received a statement of account about a government program I owe money to, such as employment insurance or Canada Student Loans?

Protect your identity and do not give out your personal details to anyone, especially if they are threatening you.