Don't be surprised if fraudsters call your home, business, or cell phone and tell you that you owe a large amount of unpaid taxes. To coerce you, they may even say that a criminal tax case has already been filed against you and urge you to call back on a fictitious hotline to avoid dire consequences. Often, the fraudsters demand that you provide them with your personal information or money in an unreasonably short time frame. This gives you little time to evaluate the legitimacy of their requests.
Recently, a new twist on this type of scam has criminals impersonating government agencies other than the CRA, including local police enforcement, to try and trick you into disclosing personal information or transferring money. Similar to the above, victims first receive a call from someone claiming to be from the CRA, who might tell them that there is an outstanding tax liability or that their SIN has been used for fraudulent activity and that they are currently under investigation by the authorities. This call is quickly followed up by a second incoming call from another co-conspirator claiming to be a police officer with knowledge of the ‘case' against the victim. To add further confusion, the incoming number that displays on the caller ID is that of either the local police services or the RCMP. The victim is then persuaded by the ‘officer' to make an immediate payment in order to avoid a warrant for their arrest, frequently in a digital currency such as bitcoin.
If you do receive a suspicious phone call that appears to be from the CRA, or from any another government agency or police service, don't rely on the caller information being displayed on your phone as proof of the caller's identity. Keep in mind that these types of scammers will frequently use caller ID spoofing, which allows them to disguise their identity by falsifying the information transmitted to your caller ID display. If you suspect that an incoming call is a scam, don't hesitate to hang up and call the CRA, government agency, or police service directly. As well, remember that if you do receive a phone call or voice message saying that you owe money to the CRA, or that you are under investigation by a government agency for a matter related to your tax return or SIN, you can confirm the validity of this information by directly calling the CRA or government agency. Additionally, you can check for any amounts owing to the CRA online using the My Account service. You should never provide any personal or financial information to the caller or leave it on an answering machine.