Revenue Canada Collector Scam
This may be hard to believe, but phone scammers have actually started to pretend to be CRA (Canada Revenue Agency – aka Revenue Canada) agents in order to try to coerce people into paying them money. Don’t fall for this recent and very prevalent phone scam.
We help a lot of people deal with and reduce their debt, and this sometimes includes helping people and businesses reduce their tax debts; so a person who owes tax monies might actually be more at risk for this scam due to the fact that they might be expecting to get a call from CRA regarding their taxes owing.
As financial educators, we want to help our clients as well as other people avoid this recent scam.
Here is the link to a news article on this scam
Here is in general how to avoid phone scams and how to better decide if an agent calling you is actual a CRA agent or not. In general:
- Ask for the department name of the caller, as well as their name. If they won’t give you their name ask for their identity number – Real CRA agents have an actual ID number they need to give you when speaking with you. And most real CRA collection agents will have no problem identifying themselves on the phone with their name. ALSO, another simple tip if your not sure is to ask for their call back number and fax #. Call them back at this number to see if it is real. Also, double check online to see if the number they gave you is actually associated with CRA. There are a few main CRA phone numbers listed on their website. Remember, real CRA agents should sound at least somewhat professional. Scammers will sound unprofessional and demanding many times the phone reception will sound bad with many clicks and pauses (almost like the call is going to another country very far away). These clues can help you confirm if the call is real or not.
- Phone the actual listed phone number – If you are still not sure, the BEST thing to do is actually call the MAIN CRA phone number posted on the CRA website – that way YOU are calling CRA (not them calling you) so you know you have called the real CRA. Once on the phone ask them if your account has been sent to collections and with what department. If they say NO, then you know you were getting a scam call. If they say yes, then, chances are, you are getting a real call from CRA for collection of your tax debt.
- Statements – Fake CRA agents will likely not be willing to send you anything to prove you owe money because they just want to convince people to pay them immediately – that is how most scams work. Real CRA agents should be willing to send you an official Statement in writing from CRA showing what taxes you are owing and to what department (what type of tax debt – Income Tax, Source Deductions, Goods and Services Tax GST etc).
This advice goes for all phone scams. Instead of just agreeing to pay someone who calls you and demands you owe them money (this goes for calls from relating to bank or CRA matters etc) always follow these 2 or 3 steps to be safe.
Note: This is not legal advice or tax advice; always seek the advice of a Certified Professional Accountant for any Tax or CRA related questions, and/or seek the advice of a Lawyer for any Legal matters pertaining to taxes or creditors etc.