CHATSWORTH – March is Fraud Prevention Month and Grey County OPP have partnered with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre to highlight the Canada Revenue Agency Scam that continues to gain momentum and target consumers.
The easiest way to prevent from being victim to a crime like the CRA fraud is having the ability to recognize what a scam is.
OPP Media Relations Officer, Constable Laura-Lee Brown says awareness is so important for consumers.
“It’s just the perfect time with tax season coming to remind people to protect your personal information and that’s never been more important than it is now.”
Tax scams are becoming increasingly popular among fraudsters. OPP say the scam artists are calling people impersonating the CRA and claiming that a recent audit has identified discrepancies from past filed taxes. They then demand repayment immediately. The fraudsters are also threatening additional fees if people don’t pay up, and even jail time and/or deportation.
In some cases people have reported receiving an email or text message indicating a refund is pending from the CRA. The email includes a link that directs consumers to a website that looks like the actual CRA. Consumers are asked to fill in their personal information such as Social Insurance Number (SIN), Date of Birth (DOB) and banking information before receiving the refund (email money transfer).
Brown says the worst thing you can do is give your personal information to these people and that the CRA will use regular mail service or registered mail to contact you.
“Never provide personal information over the phone, don’t provide it by text or email. They should be willing to give you information to ensure that it is a legitimate business or organization that has contacted you.”
OPP are warning that by offering your information you can easily become a victim of identity fraud. As suspected, no refunds have ever been issued in these situations.
OPP offer these tips to protect yourself:
– In most cases, the CRA will use registered mail to contact consumers – not email or phone.
– Contact the CRA directly to confirm you owe back taxes or are entitled to a refund.
– Never provide personal information over the telephone, by text or email.
– The CRA would never request payment by money service business, iTunes gift cards or bitcoin.
– If you’ve shared personal information, contact Equifax and Trans Union to place fraud alerts on your account.
– If you’ve shared banking information with the scammers, contact your financial institution to place alerts on your account.