Entrepreneurs on alert after new round of bogus CRA calls

The stream of fraudulent ‘Canada Revenue Agency’ (CRA) calls continues.

After notifying entrepreneurs just last year about a spate of bogus phone solicitations and threats from callers purporting to be CRA representatives, it’s clear that the fraudsters are up to their old tricks again. Last week one of our clients received a call claiming to be a CRA official and seeking sensitive personal information and payment for back taxes. As before, the telephone number provided by the individual was a legitimate-looking number with an Ottawa area code.

A KRP staffer called the number and the person answered, identifying himself as an IRS official before quickly changing track and claiming to be with the CRA. Needless to say, this is either a new scam to obtain personal information and funds, or a continuation of previous fraudulent activity. Under no circumstances should any information be given out when this telephone number shows up.

CRA is currently investigating the matter.

Unfortunately, business owners will continue to be a prime target for individuals acting nefariously due to 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.

These individuals attempt to prey on unsuspecting entrepreneurs, but increasingly their efforts are being thwarted thanks to widespread reporting and anti-fraud campaigns.

Be aware that in some cases, CRA might 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.

As mentioned in our last post on the matter, when 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 they have a strict protocol to follow. Asking for personal or payment information over the phone is not part of that process.

The KRP team