Here’s how to tell between a genuine CRA phone call and a scammer


Your phone rings, you answer it and the person on the other end of line claims that they’re with the Canada Revenue Agency and they’re calling to discuss your account. Do you hang up or hear them out?It’s a quandary that’s on the minds of many Canadians following a rash of scam calls that have swindled 4,000 taxpayers out of some $15 million, according to the RCMP.Story continues below

The scammers, who often call from clandestine call centres in India, typically operate by telling their victims that they owe back taxes and should pay up immediately if they want to avoid serious consequences including imprisonment.So ubiquitous are these scam attempts that legitimate CRA agents are finding it increasingly difficult to reach scam-wary Canadians who hang up on them and refuse to return their calls.READ MORE: Canadians, wary of scams, refusing to speak with real CRA agentsIn a bid to help Canadians differentiate cheaters from credible callers, the CRA has now published a checklist outlining the reasons for which it may contact you, as well as red flags pointing to a scam call.Reasons why the CRA may contact you by phoneTo verify your identity by asking for personal information such as your name, date of birth, address, account or social insurance numberTo ask for details about your accountTo initiate an audit processThings the CRA will never do on the phoneUse aggressive language or threaten to arrest youLeave threatening voicemailsDemand immediate payment by Interac e-transfer, bitcoin, prepaid credit cards and gift cards from the likes of iTunes and Amazon.Ask for information about your passport, health card or driver’s licenseWATCH: RCMP have busted 3 call centres in India over CRA phone scams

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