Tax Scam Alert

November 28, 2016


From the Canada Revenue Agency…

No one is immune from scams, but the most worrisome are the tax-related scams that target new Canadians and senior citizens. There are many types of fraud and new scams are being invented daily. These are some of the common ones:

  • aggressive phone calls that threaten arrest unless you pay an amount
  • demands that you pay taxes in gift cards or prepaid credit cards
  • emails or text messages that ask you to claim a tax rebate by wire transfer or e-transfer
  • emails with a link that ask you to divulge personal or financial information

Scammers often use variations on these tactics, or combinations of them. Our short video helps Canadians recognize scams and protect themselves against them.

More information on tax scams and fraud can be found at

How can Canadians recognize scams and protect themselves against them?

Taxpayers should be vigilant when they receive a phone call, email, letter or text message claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency. If taxpayers are not sure if a call claiming to be from the CRA is legitimate, they should know that the CRA will never do or say any of the following things.

Over the phone

The CRA will never use nasty or aggressive language when they call taxpayers. We will never threaten Canadians with arrest or police. If a caller claiming to be from the CRA is threatening and aggressive, the call is a scam and the taxpayer should hang up immediately.

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Payment methods

The CRA will never accept payment by prepaid card of any kind. This includes gift cards and prepaid credit cards. We will also never collect or distribute payments through Interac e-transfer. Any request for payment by prepaid card or e-transfer claiming to be from the CRA is a scam! The accepted methods of payment are online banking, debit card and pre-authorized debit.

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Emails from the CRA will never ask a taxpayer for personal or financial information, such as a taxpayer’s social insurance number, banking information or credit card number. Emails from the CRA will also never give personal or financial information, and will never contain spelling errors. If a taxpayer receives an email that asks for personal information, especially if it asks to click on a link, the email is a scam. The only time the CRA will send an email that contains links is if a taxpayer calls the CRA to ask for a form or a link to specific information. A CRA agent will send the information to the taxpayer’s email during the telephone call.

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If a taxpayer is not sure if a communication is from the CRA, individuals or businesses can always confirm their tax status with the CRA either online through the CRA secure portals such as My Account or My Business Account or by calling the CRA at 1-800-959-8281 for individuals or 1-800-959-5525 for businesses.

More information on the signs of scam and how Canadians can protect themselves can be found at and at

What should Canadians do if they have been scammed?

If a taxpayer suspects they may be the victim of fraud or have been tricked into giving personal or financial information, we strongly encourage them to contact their local police service. Since financial crimes fall within police jurisdiction, they can initiate legal proceedings against scammers.

If the CRA confirms that a taxpayer’s information has been compromised, the CRA will prevent the information from being used fraudulently through the systems and processes it is responsible for.

Taxpayers can also ask the CRA to disable or re-enable online access to their information by calling the e-Services Helpdesk. They should also contact the helpdesk if they think their CRA user ID or password has been compromised.

Taxpayers can report scams to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, which is run by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in association with Ontario Provincial Police and the Competition Bureau. Report scams at Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, or by calling 1-888-495-8501.

How is the CRA telling Canadians about scams?

The CRA places a high priority on anti-fraud communications. We regularly conduct interviews with the media, especially local news and radio, to inform Canadians on how to spot and avoid common scams. To raise awareness about scams, the CRA reaches out to civic and community organizations, posts on social media, and updates our own tax-related products, such as our annual income tax and benefit guide. We also work closely with our partners in the RCMP by participating in public events to raise awareness of scams, both across the country and online.