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Tax Season is upon us…are you safe?
Is it that time already?? Yep it sure is…
Tax Season Safety should be top of your mind right now.
In addition to all the other scams out there…we have to also pay close attention to the rise in Tax Fraud. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) is consistently receiving reports in regards to tax scams that seem to come via phone or email.
The 2 scams that you may encounter:
- Scammers may call you impersonating the CRA, talking about a recent audit, discrepancies on past filed taxes or a repayment is needed. From there these scammers may threaten you with more fees and even jail time….not to mention potential deportation. You will know they are scammers by how they ask for payment. They may request via pre-paid cards, gift cards or a money service business. DO NOT DO IT!
- Another way involves an email. They may indicate that there is a refund pending and that you are to follow a link that is within the email. That link will most likely take you to a fake or copied website of the CRA, where you are asked to input your personal information such as SIN number, date of birth, banking and more….in order to receive your refund. Of course no refund will ever be issued.
What you can do to stay safe this Tax Season:
- File taxes early. Usually those darn scammers are ready in January to get their hands on your information, so making sure you have all your paperwork in order and ready to be processed, you can beat them to the punch!
- Don’t fall for scams. Remember, the CRA will not call or email you to ask questions about your personal information. They will request information by mail and that should be it.
- Research your tax consultant. Make sure that whomever you choose to process your taxes that they indeed licenced to do so. Also remember to keep all their details such as name and tax certification with your tax paperwork for future reference. Even if you use an online filing service provider, remember to research more information about them to make sure you aren’t being scammed.
- Keep Social Insurance number safe! If a company is asking for your Social Insurance number, make sure it is really necessary for them to have it. Many times this may be optional, so best practice should be to leave the card at home and only give out the number when absolutely necessary. Don’t be afraid to ask them why they need it!
- Protection Services. It may be worth it to you, as it is a service that specializes in Identity Theft Protection. This service will send alerts to you if any fraudulent activity happens with your personal information.
- Shredding personal records. If you have no reason to keep the paper copies of your financial statements, tax forms or other personal information then shred it. This way if any of it ends up stolen or in the recycling bin, you have nothing to worry about! You may also consider switching to online delivery, but remember, make sure it is all protected and secure! Ensure you have strong authentication tools to help with your security.
The CRA has some great warning signs, but for the most part they are pretty straight forward.
- You will never be asked by the CRA for personal information either through email, text message or any kind of link.
- You will never receive emails with details on your tax refund and certainly not any e-transfer payments.
- The CRA emails will NEVER contain SPELLING ERRORS or GRAMMAR MISTAKES.
- Before taking any action in regards to suspicious calls or emails, please contact the CRA directly by phone or by checking “My Account” or “My Business Account” in order to know if it is legitimate or not.
- Any questions in regards to fraud scams or if you are curious and want to learn more, you can visit the CRA for more information at CRA – Protect Yourself Against Fraud
- Now if you have shared any kind of personal information, please alert both Equifax and Trans Union so they can place fraud alerts onto your account to monitor.
- How about your banking information….if you did share that information with a potential scammer, then contact your financial institution immediately so they can place an alert on your account!
NEVER give out personal information over the phone or email in regards to Tax questions.
Keep all passwords protected.
by BlackBox Connections
Topic: Tax Season Safety