Wilkinson Chartered Professional Accountants

CRA isn’t going to send you to jail over the phone

Not long ago we talked to a client who received a phone call from someone claiming to be the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).  If our client didn’t pay up immediately by providing their financial information – “CRA” claimed they were going to go to jail!  This was a scam, and thankfully our client realized this.  However, it’s not always so obvious and sometimes a phone call or e-mail from “CRA” can be intimidating.

Be wary of scams!

Generally, CRA has stated that they will:

  • Never request payment by Interact e-transfer, bitcoin, pre-paid credit cards, gift cards;
  • Never request a meeting in a public place to take a payment;
  • Never use aggressive language or threaten you with arrest, deportation or imprisonment;
  • Never ask for information about your passport, health card or driver’s licence;
  • Never provide or ask for personal information of any kind via e-mail;
  • Never share your personal information with someone else (unless authorized) or leave personal information on your answering machine;
  • Never use text messages or instant messaging such as Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, for any communications at all;
  • Never send you an email with any links, particularly links to your refund or to an online form asking for personal or financial information. The only exception is that they may send an email with a link to CRA webpages, forms or publications, only after you request such during a telephone call or meeting with an agent.

If you are questioning the validity of communications from CRA, you can always contact them at their toll-free number – 1-800-959-8281 for individuals; or 1-800-959-5525 for businesses.  If you’re an existing client of ours – contact us immediately!

If you have received a phone call or e-mail that appears to be a scam, it can be reported to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online or by calling 1-888-495-8501.

CRA is not going to send you to jail over the phone or via e-mail.  Anyone who claims to be a CRA agent and tells you otherwise is attempting to steal from you.  Don’t be fooled!

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