Beware of emails and calls claiming to represent the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)
Warning: Have you received an email or phone call by someone claiming to be affiliated with the Canada Revenue Agency, that you owe taxes and requesting immediate payment?
Be aware that these emails and calls are fraudulent and could result in identity and financial theft.
What's happening: Some individuals are sending emails and calling Canadians claiming to represent the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and that they owe a fictitious debt to the agency. An immediate payment is demanded, either by credit card or by convincing the victim to purchase a prepaid credit card and contacting them with the information. The language used in the emails and calls often threaten the victim with court charges, jail time and/or deportation.
What you can do: To help you identify possible scams, please note that the CRA:
- never requests prepaid credit cards;
- never asks for information about your passport, health card, or driver's licence;
- never shares your taxpayer information with another person, unless you have provided the appropriate authorization; and
- never leaves personal information on your answering machine or asks you to leave a message containing your personal information on an answering machine.
If you have received a call and are not sure about the caller's true identity, you should not provide any personal information, including your telephone number. Given the fraudulent nature of the call, you should hang up and contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) at 1-888-495-8501, a national service jointly operated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Ontario Provincial Police and the Competition Bureau.
If you want to confirm the authenticity of the call, you can contact the CRA at 1-800-959-5525 for business-related accounts or 1-800-959-8281 for individual accounts.
For any other unsolicited calls, we encourage Canadians to file a complaint with the National Do Not Call List (DNCL) or call 1-866-580-DNCL (3625). You can help us investigate unsolicited calls by providing as much information as possible, such as:
- The telephone number at which you received the call;
- The purpose of the call;
- The telephone number and name of the telemarketer that appeared on the call display or that the person gave you over the phone;
- The exact time and date of the call as it appeared on the call display;
- The callback number that may have been provided to you by the caller;
- Whether the complaint relates to a fax, residential or business number; and
- Any other information that you have about the call.
If you are not on the National Do Not Call List and want to reduce the amount of unsolicited telemarketing calls you receive, we also encourage you to register your number.
If you have received an unsolicited commercial electronic message, you can report it to the Spam Reporting Centre. Canada's Anti-spam Legislation (CASL) helps protect Canadians while ensuring that businesses can continue to compete in the global marketplace.
Penalties for violating the Rules and CASL
The CRTC takes violations seriously. If found in violation of the National DNCL or the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules, individuals can be issued penalties of up to $1,500 per violation; corporations can be issued penalties of up to $15,000 per violation.If found in violation of CASL, individuals can be issued penalties of up to $1 million per violation and businesses up to $10 million per violation.
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