Ask an Accountant: Scams and phishing schemes

Francesca Giroux, CPA
For the Lakeside Leader

It is important to be aware of scams and phishing schemes that have occurred recently with regards to individuals claiming that they are representatives from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and that could lead to the theft of personal financial information.
When receiving a call or mail from an individual claiming to be from the CRA be aware that the CRA will not divulge taxpayer information to another person unless authorization has been provided by the taxpayer and the CRA will never leave any personal information on an answering machine. Please be aware of questions that are being asked of you, for example, the CRA should not ask for information that it already has on file such as your social insurance number. In addition the CRA will not ask for information that would not be included on your personal income tax return such as your passport number or your credit card number. Also be aware of websites that resemble the CRA website (www.cra-arc.gc.ca) and ask for the input of personal information to verify your identity. Please visit the actual CRA website to be aware of its design and content. If you are unsure of whether or not a caller is truly a CRA representative you can ask for their badge number/representative number or ask that their request for information be sent in writing.
The CRA will never contact anyone by e-mail as this is an unsecure means of communication from their perspective. If you receive an e-mail from an individual claiming to be from a CRA representative or from one of their departments this e-mail is NOT from CRA. One of the more recent e-mail scams notified taxpayers by e-mail that a complaint containing evidence of involvement with income tax evasion has been filed against them and the company that the individual is affiliated with, and that the complaint arose from the Informant Leads Program. If you have received or in the future receive suspicious communication such as the above please report it to [email protected]
Please write in with your questions to [email protected]
Information provided is of a general nature. As each individual or company’s situation is unique, you may wish to consult with your CPA for information specific to your own needs.

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