Canada Revenue Agency warns of relentless scams during tax season

Click to play video: 'Consumer Matters: CRA tax scam warning'
Consumer Matters: CRA tax scam warning
Tax season is underway, and so are tax scams. Canadians lose millions of dollars to tax-related scams, and the Canada Revenue Agency warns taxpayers to be extra vigilant. Consumer Matters reporter Anne Drewa has more on the latest scams and how to protect yourself.

The Canada Revenue Agency is warning Canadians to be extra vigilant now that tax season is in full swing. The agency says fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated in their approach and grammar and spelling mistakes are no longer a tell-tale sign of a scam.

“The scams are generally related to your tax refund or if you have a balance owing,” said Canada Revenue Agency spokesperson Gurpreet Plaha.

“Scammers are really aware of the social and economic events that are happening currently and they are trying to sound more legitimate in their scams.”

Click to play video: 'Consumer Matters: Cracking down on scam calls'
Consumer Matters: Cracking down on scam calls

Recently, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre issued a fraud alert stating it’s receiving reports of text messages claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency. The messages include the victim’s full name and social insurance number asking a payment be sent to a phone number.

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The CRA says taxpayers should be skeptical about any communication claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency.

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“If something is too good to be true it usually is. You need to know your information better than the scammers and make sure you are not providing or being hasty clicking on any links or sharing any sensitive information like your social insurance number or password or even banking information,” Plaha said.

The CRA says it’s also seeing what they are calling “tax schemes” involving so-called tax promoters who attempt to deceive their victims by promising to reduce the taxes they owe or promising tax-free income.

The schemes usually involve a sales pitch or an advertisement often found on social media platforms. “They are trying everything possible under the sun to scam people,” said Plaha.

Click to play video: 'Consumer Matters: Tax scams making the rounds'
Consumer Matters: Tax scams making the rounds

To help Canadians, the CRA has set up a special scam alert page on its website.

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If you receive a call from the CRA, it recommends you hang up the phone and call the number listed on the CRA website to verify information.

For those who have fallen victim to a scam or may have given away tax-sensitive information, the CRA says it wants to hear from you immediately so enhanced security measures can be placed on your account. Victims of fraud should also reach out to their local police and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre to report the fraud.

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