VANCOUVER ISLAND, B.C –  Scam artists pretending to be from the Canada Revenue Agency don’t discriminate on their victims, according to the CRA.  

Cheryl Yeung, media spokesperson for the agency, said there has been an influx in scams, especially around tax time, when people are expecting to have communication with the agency.

“There’s generally three types of scams; phone scams, email scams and texting scams,” said Yeung.

According to her, telephone scams generally entail someone calling and looking for personal information, or advising that there is a balance owing and immediate action needs to be taken. She said there are some red flags to look for in email scams.

“Generally when we do send an email it’s because you’ve signed up for a online service. Any email from the CRA will never have any links, nor would it advise that you have a balance owing or a tax return,” said Yeung.  

“For the text scams, it’s simple, we would never, ever text you. If you get a text from someone saying it’s the CRA, delete it.”

The media spokesperson said there isn’t a demographic that gets scammed in particular.

“As far as I’m concerned, everyone is a potential target in these scams, I’ve gotten calls myself.”

Yeung said taxpayers should take a moment and think about whether or not they are expecting a refund, or if they would have a balance owing.

“Take a listen, if there is any doubt about the origin of the call, we ask that you take time, and please give us a call to confirm whether or not that is the case. You will never be penalized for checking the status of your account,” she said.   

“It’s important for taxpayers to keep in mind, that even if we do contact someone by mail or phone, we have established procedures in place to make sure that your information is protected.”

“We will never threaten taxpayers with police arrests or jail time, or demand immediate payment by credit cards, gift cards or bitcoins.”

The CRA provides examples of scams and information about how Canadians can recognize scams and protect themselves at www.canada.ca/taxes-fraud-prevention

If you receive a suspicious call or fall victim to a scam, report it immediately to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at antifraudcentre.ca

If you receive a call saying you owe money to the CRA, you can call 1-800-959-8281 to verify your account status.

Taxpayers who believe they may be the victim of fraud or have given personal or financial information, contact your local police department.