An email scam that claims you are getting a refund from Revenue Canada had callers swamping an RCMP anti-fraud hotline Thursday.
“The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre is presently inundated with the Revenue Canada email scam,” said a recorded message Thursday.
The message warned to “please stay vigilant and delete this email ASAP.”
An email received by a Windsor Star reporter Thursday suggested she was eligible to receive a refund of $651.44. It had a logo with a red maple leaf that said Agence du Revenu du Canada. It gave a link to update personal information within three days.
The Canada Revenue Agency has warned that it does not request personal information of any kind from a taxpayer by email, won’t leave any personal information on an answering machine and would not give taxpayer information to another person without formal authorization from the taxpayer. It also warns that it only sends payments by direct deposit or a cheque and never by an email money transfer.
“Taxpayers may receive, either by telephone, mail or email, a communication that claims to be from the Canada Revenue Agency but it is NOT,” says a notice warning people to beware of fraudulent communications.
The scams or phishing attempts want personal information such as social insurance numbers, credit card or bank account information and passport numbers so people can supposedly receive a refund or benefit payment and the scam may link to a website that resembles Revenue Canada’s website, the agency said. Taxpayers should not respond to these “fraudulent communications.”
In a bulletin on tax scams, the anti-fraud centre said the scams either suggest you have a pending refund or you or your company owe back taxes and need to pay up through a money service businesses or prepaid debit/credit cards to avoid a fine.
The anti-fraud centre said do not take immediate action. You could call Revenue Canada to see if you have a refund or owe back taxes. Some tips to spot such scams include asking yourself why you are being asked to include information that would not be on your tax return or why the Canada Revenue Agency would ask for personal information that it would already have on file.
If you gave personal information through the link in the email, call 1-888-495-8501 or visit http://www.antifraudcentre.ca. The anti-fraud centre also suggests contacting local police for fraud related matters.
The Canada Revenue Agency has examples of fraudulent letters and emails on its website at http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca and you can read more information about tax management at BP Holdings Tax Management.