MP Kit for tax-related scams and fraud

What your constituents need to know about tax scams

How can Canadians recognize and protect themselves against scams?

Taxpayers should be vigilant when they receive a phone call, email, letter or text message claiming to be from the CRA. If your constituents are not sure if a call claiming to be from the CRA is legitimate, here are guidelines to help identify legitimate communications from the CRA:

By phone

The CRA may

  • verify your identity by asking for personal information such as your full name, date of birth, address and account, or social insurance number
  • ask for details about your account, in the case of a business enquiry
  • call you to begin an audit process

The CRA will never

  • ask for information about your passport, health card, or driver's license
  • demand immediate payment by Interac e-transfer, Bitcoin, prepaid credit cards or gift cards from retailers such as iTunes, Amazon, or others
  • use aggressive language or threaten you with arrest or sending the police
  • leave voicemails that are threatening or give personal or financial information
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Slam the scam!

The Canada Revenue Agency will:

  • NEVER use aggressive language or tone
  • NEVER threaten to arrest or deport you
  • NEVER ask for prepaid credit cards or gift cards

For more information, go to canada.ca/taxes-fraud-prevention

By email

The CRA may

  • notify you by email when a new message or a document, such as a notice of assessment or reassessment, is available for you to view in secure CRA portals such as My Account, My Business Account, or Represent a Client
  • email you a link to a CRA webpage, form, or publication that you ask for during a telephone call or a meeting with an agent (this is the only case where the CRA will send an email containing links)

The CRA will never

  • 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
  • demand immediate payment by Interac e-transfer, Bitcoin, prepaid credit cards or gift cards from retailers such as iTunes, Amazon, or others
  • threaten you with arrest or a prison sentence
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Slam the scam!

The Canada Revenue Agency:

  • NEVER asks for OR provides financial information via email
  • NEVER sends text messages to communicate with taxpayers under any circumstances
  • NEVER asks you to click a link (unless you request a link over the phone)

For more information, go to canada.ca/taxes-fraud-prevention

By mail

The CRA may

  • ask for financial information such as the name of your bank and its location
  • send you a notice of assessment or reassessment
  • ask you to pay an amount you owe through any of the CRA's payment options
  • take legal action to recover the money you owe, if you refuse to pay your debt
  • write to you to begin an audit process

The CRA will never

  • set up a meeting with you in a public place to take a payment
  • demand immediate payment by Interac e-transfer, Bitcoin, prepaid credit cards or gift cards from retailers such as iTunes, Amazon, or others
  • threaten you with arrest or a prison sentence

By text messages/instant messaging

The CRA never uses text messages or instant messaging such as Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp to communicate with taxpayers under any circumstance. If a taxpayer receives text or instant messages claiming to be from the CRA, they are scams!

Payment methods:

The CRA will never accept payment by prepaid card of any kind. This includes gift cards and prepaid credit cards. We will also never collect or distribute payments through Interac e-transfer or Bitcoin ATMs. Any request for payment by prepaid card, e-transfer or Bitcoin ATMs claiming to be from the CRA is a scam! The accepted methods of payment are online banking, debit card, pre-authorized debit, and PayPal/credit card through a third-party provider.

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Slam the scam!

The Canada Revenue Agency does not accept payments via gift cards or Bitcoin.

Accepted payment methods are:

  • Online banking
  • Debit
  • Pre-authorized debit
  • PayPal/credit card (through a third party provider)

For more information, go to canada.ca/taxes-fraud-prevention

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Slam the scam!

The Canada Revenue Agency will never send or request e-transfers of any kind!

CRA will only send you payments by direct deposit or by cheque in the mail.

For more information, go to canada.ca/taxes-fraud-prevention

If a taxpayer is not sure if a communication is from the CRA, individuals or businesses can always check their tax account with the CRA either online through CRA digital services such as My Account or My Business Account or by calling the CRA at 1-800-959-8281 for individuals or 1-800-959-5525 for businesses.

Monitor your tax accounts by registering for My Account or My Business Account. Once registered, sign up for email notifications (account alerts), which will notify you of changes made to your accounts (e.g. change in address or direct deposit information) or if paper mail from the CRA was returned.

More information on the signs of scam and how Canadians can protect themselves can be found at canada.ca/taxes-fraud-prevention  and at antifraudcentre.ca/.

What should Canadians do if they have been scammed?

If taxpayers suspect they may be the victim of fraud or have been tricked into giving personal or financial information, the CRA strongly encourages them to contact their local police service.

Taxpayers can report scams to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, or by calling 1‑888‑495‑8501

If the CRA confirms that a taxpayer’s information has been compromised, the CRA will prevent the information from being used fraudulently through the systems and processes it controls.

Taxpayers can also ask the CRA to disable or re-enable online access to their information by contacting us. They should also contact us if they think their CRA user ID or password has been compromised.

Taxpayers can call the CRA at 1-800-959-8281 for individuals and 1-800-959-5525 for businesses to request that enhanced security measures be placed on their account. These measures will ensure CRA call centre agents ask additional security questions to determine a caller’s identity.

Taxpayers can call the CRA at 1-800-959-8281 for individuals or 1-800-959-5525 for businesses to set up a unique Personal Identification Number (PIN) on their tax account for call centre agents to access their account(s).

If a taxpayer’s social insurance number (SIN) has been stolen, they should contact Service Canada at 1-866-274-6627. For more information, see Social Insurance Number (Service Canada website).

If someone has had their account compromised and is unable to comply with their tax obligations, they may be eligible for taxpayer relief for any resulting interest or penalties. To submit requests for relief, individuals should complete Form RC4288, Request for Taxpayer Relief - Cancel or Waive Penalties or Interest.

How is the CRA informing Canadians about scams?

The CRA works to raise taxpayer awareness of scams through the CRA website, social media, news media, regular mail, and community outreach. The CRA partners with media, police forces, and associations to make sure warnings about scams are widely distributed. It also gives interviews and news releases to print, radio, and television media. The CRA regularly monitors for active scams and exposes them at canada.ca/taxes-fraud-prevention. On this webpage, you can find awareness tools such as posters, videos, and web content that the CRA promotes and shares with community organizations.

Print-ready posters

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Resources

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