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CRA & Immigrations scams: What you need to know to protect yourself

“O” Division (Ontario) Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Financial Crime Program warn the public of ongoing scams by imposters claiming to represent Government of Canada agencies such as Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) [Formerly known as Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)]. 

These types of fraudulent telephone calls are being perpetuated coast to coast, and have impacted victims from many different age groups and cultural backgrounds.

If you or a family member has fallen victim to this fraud, please report to your local police service, as well as the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC). You have two ways to make a report to the CAFC; either by phone at 1-888-495-8501 (9:00 am - 5:00 pm  Eastern Time) or through their online reporting tool.

The following are questions and answers that will test your knowledge and help you identify whether a telephone call you have received from a Government of Canada agency is legitimate or not.

The questions were developed as a result of actual telephone fraud cases seen by RCMP investigators.

Test your Knowledge

Question: Will a Government of Canada (GovofCan) agency make cold calls to collect outstanding fees or taxes?
Answer:  No. GovofCan agencies like CRA and CIC, will contact clients by mail to collect fees, fines or taxes.  If after having sent a notice of assessment in the mail with no response, the agency may make contact by phone but will never threaten with deportation, arrest or other consequences.

Question: Will a GovofCan agency ask the client to provide personal information over the phone?
Answer: Employees representing CRA and CIC may conduct phone verifications, but will not ask for banking information, credit card information, passport, health card, or driver's license numbers.  Call the agency directly to confirm the validity of the telephone call and any outstanding issues with your account.

Question: Will a GovofCan agency demand immediate payment for outstanding taxes or fees?
Answer: The agency may ask for immediate payment but will provide you with the option of making payment arrangements.

Question: Do GovofCan agencies accept prepaid credit cards, Western Union, and Money Gram as payment methods?
Answer: No, a GovofCan agency like CRA and CIC, will not accept prepaid credit cards, Western Union, Money Grams or similar types of payment. Go through your bank, refer to their web site or telephone the agency to find out how payments can be made.

Question: Will employees from a GovofCan agency threaten to use local police or others to arrest me for not paying overdue fees or taxes?
Answer: A GovofCan employee would under no circumstances threaten to use law enforcement agencies to arrest an individual for not paying fees or taxes.

Question: Will a legitimate GovofCan employee make threats of arrest, deportation, assault, or kidnapping?
Answer: Absolutely not. A GovofCan employee would never behave in this way. This sort of behavior should be reported to the police.

Question:  What is the best way to verify whether I owe money to Canada Revenue Agency?
Answer:  The best way is to register for “My Account” to check or keep track of money owing to CRA.  Register at: www.cra.gc.ca/myaccount/. You may also call the agency directly to confirm the validity of the telephone call and any outstanding issues with your account.

Question:  What do I do if receive a telephone call from a GovofCan agency that I suspect is fraudulent?
Answer: 
1) If you have call display on your phone, note the number where the call came from.
2) Hang up.
3) Look up the “real” number for the agency in question.
4) Call the agency to confirm or refute your situation.
5) Report the fraudulent call.
6) Share what you know about these telephone scams with friends and family.

Question:  The number on my call display led me to a legitimate GovofCan office, how can I be sure that the person calling was legitimate?
Answer:  In some cases, although the phone number displayed was legitimate it was “spoofed” meaning it was made to impersonate another person or in this a Government of Canada office.  To be sure, note the number on your call display and then look up the number for the agency in question using a different source.

Telephone Fraud Awareness Campaign

Below is a list of RCMP Ontario media releases related to scams by imposters claiming to represent Government of Canada agencies, including Canada Revenue Agency and Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) [Formerly known as Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)].

The releases include realistic portrayals of frauds that have been seen by RCMP investigators.

This list will be updated as they are released; check back often.

Helpful Resources