t

t

How to tell if a call from ‘CRA’ is legitimate or a scam

Expert says it’s important to verify you really are dealing with the CRA before you give out any info

The scam is a common one: a phone call claiming to be the Canada Revenue Agency demanding an immediate payment.

If you think it might really be the government calling you about your taxes, you should verify it is before you do anything, experts say.

Cherolle Prince, a financial crimes expert at KPMG, says you want to trust, but verify you really are dealing with the CRA before you give out any information.

“Ask the right questions to yourself, does this call make sense,” she said. “Why does the CRA need that information? Have I provided that to them already? What would they be doing with that information and why do they need it now?”

Prince says a red flag may be if the caller is asking for information over the phone that CRA should already have if they are calling you.

“Yes the CRA may ask you questions, but they aren’t going to call you and ask for personal information. If you call them, they may ask for personal information as a way to identify you, it is part of their authentication protocol, but they would not call you for that information,” she said.

CRA spokesman Paul Murphy says if you’re unsure it really is the tax agency calling that you should to ask the caller for their name, which CRA office they are calling from and their phone number.

Then, Murphy says, hang up and contact CRA using the general inquiry number on the agency’s website before you provide any information and ask them to verify that the call was legitimate.

“The call display option isn’t always the best because these scammers will use technology to spoof that they are calling from Canada, that they are calling from Ottawa or what have you,” he said.

Murphy says CRA will never demand immediate payment in Bitcoin or gift cards.

Another red flag, Murphy says, is if the caller tells you not to talk to anyone such as a family member or your accountant about the matter.

“That’s not something a CRA employee would ever demand of you. You have a right to have representation, you have the right to talk to somebody about your personal tax dealings before you deal with the CRA,” he said.

Just because CRA is calling it doesn’t mean you’re facing an audit. In most cases, the agency says, it is a routine check.

Depending on the circumstances, if you filed your tax return electronically, the agency may be seeking things like RRSP or charitable contribution receipts that would have been filed if you had filed a paper tax return.

Carmela Pallotto, a tax partner at KPMG, says an initial phone call from CRA is very rare.

“It is not unheard of, but normally they would correspond by mail and not by email either,” she said.

“They do not email unless you’ve already entered into some sort of dialogue with them and you’ve asked them to email you something and even then they are extremely hesitant to email you anything, that’s just not the way they operate.”

Pallotto said if the caller is demanding immediate payment, that’s just not how CRA works.

“It’s never immediate. They usually give you a period of time to respond to a request because they understand you might not have everything readily available,” she said.

“You shouldn’t be afraid to have to call CRA back.”

—Craig Wong, The Canadian Press

RELATED: Phone call scammers now preying on COVID-19 fears

Scamstaxes

Just Posted

More and more graffiti has appeared in Ladysmith’s downtown core during the pandemic. (Cole Schisler photo)
Council creates rebate program to encourage graffiti clean up

Property owners can receive up to $50 to help fund graffiti removal

Rick Ruppenthal of Saltair will host a 12-hour talk-a-thon Friday, June 18 over Facebook live. (Photo submitted)
Talk-a-thon to focus on men’s mental health issues

Saltair man spearheading a campaign to generate more conversation during fundraiser

(File photo)
Poverty reduction survey identifies 10 poverty themes

Poverty reduction plan will be finalized in July 2021

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly says he has no intentions of leaving the Green Party. (House of Commons image)
Island Green MPs have “no intention” of leaving the party after ‘heartbreaking’ departure

Manly, May only remaining Green MPs after Jenica Atwin left for the Liberals over internal disputes

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

For more than a year, Rene Doyharcabal and a small group of neighbours in Langley’s Brookswood neighbourhood have been going out every evening to show support for first responders by honking horns and banging pots and drums. Now, a neighbour has filed a noise complaint. (Langley Advance Times file)
Noise complaint filed against nightly show of support for health care workers in B.C. city

Langley Township contacted group to advise of complaint, but no immediate action is expected

A nurse prepares a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Yukon Convention Centre in Whitehorse on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Thomas
Vancouver couple pleads guilty to breaking Yukon COVID rules, travelling for vaccine

Chief Judge Michael Cozens agreed with a joint sentencing submission,

An inmate in solitary confinement given lunch on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. THE CANADIAN/Lars Hagberg
22-hour cap on solitary confinement for youth in custody still too long: B.C. lawyer

Jennifer Metcalfe was horrified to hear a youth had spent a total of 78 straight days in isolation

Flowers and candles were laid on the driveway of the Weber home, where Kerri Weber was found dead in November 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria man to stand trial for death of his wife last November

Ken Weber is charged with second-degree murder of his wife, Kerri Weber

The discovery of a missing woman’s body in Nanaimo earlier this month is now being treated as homicide, say Nanaimo RCMP. (File photo)
Discovery of woman’s body in downtown Nanaimo now being investigated as a homicide

Amy Watts was found dead near Albert Street and Victoria Crescent on June 3

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens as Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents the province’s latest budget, April 20, 2021. The budget projects $19 billion in deficits over three years. (Hansard TV)
B.C. government budget balloons, beyond COVID-19 response

Provincial payroll up 104,000 positions, $10 billion since 2017

COVID-related trash is washing up on shorelines across the world, including Coldstream’s Kal Beach, as pictured in this May 2021 photograph. (Jennifer Smith - Black Press)
Shoreline cleanup finds COVID-related trash increased during height of the pandemic

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup reports litter from single-use food packaging nearly doubled

Most Read