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Have you received a threatening phone call from the CRA asking for money or threatening your arrest? Join the club! CRA scams are on the rise and there is no shortage of scam-artists looking to help you part ways with your money by employing deceptive tactics aimed at convincing you that the Canada Revenue Agency is on your case.

Below is a checklist of red-flags indicating that you may be subject to a CRA scam:

CRA Scam #1: Text or email from the CRA:

Did you get a text message or email asking for personal information? The CRA NEVER sends text messages or emails to anyone randomly requesting personal information under any circumstances. If you receive an initial communication from the “CRA” via text or email simply delete it and go on with your life. If you have doubts call the CRA at 1-800-959-8281 (hit “*” to speak to an agent) and verify if the communication was legitimate or not.

CRA Scam #2: There’s a warrant out for your arrest:

It blows my mind how many people fall for this one! The CRA won’t be calling you on your cell phone telling you that you will be arrested if you don’t pay your outstanding tax balance, they’re a tax agency not the police. The CRA collections department may call you to follow up on a legitimate debt but they won’t be threatening your arrest.

CRA Scam #3: You can pay your balance in gift cards or Western Union:

If you have a balance owing with the tax authorities your best bet is to pay at the bank. The CRA will never, I repeat NEVER call you asking you to go to your local Walmart to purchase Visa gift cards to settle a debt with them. This is the ultimate red-flag that you are being scammed.

So how do you protect yourself? Simple, if you receive a call from the CRA or someone telling you that they are a CRA agent and it seems fishy, do the following:

Ask for their agent number and which division they are calling you from
Ask what the specific matter is about
DO NOT provide any personal information such as your SIN, address etc.
Hang up and call 1-800-959-8281 to verify if the call was legitimate

For more information you can check the official government of Canada webpage on CRA scams: CLICK HERE

Campanella McDonald LLP is a full-service accounting firm based in Oakville Ontario. The firm’s partners and staff concentrate on helping small businesses, independent professionals, and real estate investors maximize their bottom lines by providing specialized accounting, assurance, tax compliance, tax planning and financial advisory services.

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