A recent spate of fraudulent calls has given some entrepreneurs reason to review their over-the-phone dealings with Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
Just yesterday, for example, a KRP client received a threatening call purportedly from CRA’s tax fraud investigation division. The telephone number provided by the individual was a legitimate-looking number with an Ottawa area code.
After confirming with the CRA, and speaking to someone at that phone number, we determined that
this is a complete scam to obtain either identity information or money.
CRA is currently investigating the matter.
This is not the first time a fraudster has used the CRA as cover to try to trick business owners. There have been—and unfortunately will probably continue to be—numerous examples of this kind of fraud in recent years. Of course, entrepreneurs are prime targets given their often extensive (and sometimes exhaustive) administrative requirements when dealing with Ottawa. Many would think it reasonable to receive a call from the agency to confirm details on an HST or corporate tax return, for example.
In some cases, CRA might even reach out when conducting a special investigation or to arrange payment for an outstanding tax bill.
However, when agents introduce themselves, they will always provide their full name, title, employee number and your business number. They will never ask you for information such as a social insurance number or a credit card number.
If you get a call and you’re still not sure if it’s legitimate, ask the agent to send you a letter stating their concern, or have them provide their direct phone extension and employee number (assuming they haven’t already), then call them back.
Remember, there’s no reason for a CRA representative to ask you for information they already have (such as a SIN number) or for payment over the phone. The agency may want its money, but that’s simply not how they operate.
The KRP team