Protecting your personal information
One of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)’s top priorities is preserving the confidentiality and privacy of taxpayer information. The CRA processes more than 28 million individual income tax returns annually; as a result, an extensive privacy and security framework is in place to manage and protect personal information for all Canadians. As the privacy of information is a shared responsibility, there are a number of steps you can take to safeguard your own information.
Sign up for My Account or My Business Account
By registering and opting to receive email notifications (account alerts), you’ll receive automatic system alerts to inform you about key activities happening on your account (such as a change in address or direct deposit information) or if paper mail from the CRA was returned.
When interacting with the CRA by phone
CRA call centre agents perform authentication processes to confirm a caller’s identity before accessing and making changes to their account. Taxpayers must prove their identity by answering a series of questions to the call centre agent’s satisfaction. If a CRA agent has any concerns about the identity of a caller, no information regarding the account will be disclosed and no changes will be made to the account.
The CRA is always enhancing its methods to protect Canadians’ personal information. In August 2019, we are introducing the option for Canadians to set a unique Personal Identification Number for their account that must be used before a call centre agent can access their accounts.
Confirm it’s really the CRA contacting you
Scammers often pose as CRA employees to mislead Canadians into paying false debt or to obtain your personal information to commit identity theft. If ever you are unsure of the legitimacy of a caller claiming to represent the CRA, ask the caller for their name, work section, and office location and tell them you want to first verify their identity. You can then contact the CRA at 1-800-959-8281 for individuals or 1-800-959-5525 for businesses to verify whether the call was made by a CRA employee.
What you should do if you think you are a victim of identity theft
If you think you may be the victim of fraud or you unknowingly provided personal or financial information, you may:
- contact your local police service, financial institution, and credit reporting agencies;
- report all potential incidents of fraud or scam to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre or by calling 1-888-495-8501; and
- 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 your account. These measures will ensure that CRA call centre agents ask additional security questions to determine a caller’s identity.
If your social insurance number (SIN) has been stolen, you should contact Service Canada at 1-866-274-6627. For more information, see Social Insurance Number (Service Canada website).
You can ask the CRA to disable online access to your information on the CRA login services by contacting us. After access to your information is disabled, you may change your mind and want access again. If so, you can contact us and ask that your access be re-activated.
If you have had your account compromised and are unable to comply with your tax obligations, you may be eligible for taxpayer relief for any resulting interest or penalties. To submit your request for relief, please complete Form RC4288, Request for Taxpayer Relief - Cancel or Waive Penalties or Interest.
For more information about protecting yourself from fraud, please visit the CRA’s Scam prevention and the CRA web page.
Canada Revenue Agency
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