Ways to Identify Scams and Protect Yourself

In online scams, residents receive fraudulent communications via text message, email, phone, or letter that claim to be from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)/ Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)/ Service Canada.

In 2021 till now, over 45k Canadians reported fraudulent calls, and I am sure you will agree with me, the actual number will be much higher as not everyone reports these phone calls. Out of those, over 32K are victims loosing total $130 millions of their hard-earned income. There are many sophisticated frauds and scams in Canada – with new ones invented daily. The current frauds which are in trend ask you to pay money to release your parcel from border security Canada and COVID-19 vaccines scams.

How to Identify:
1.These scams will request your personal information such as a Social Insurance Number, credit card number, bank account number or passport number by telephone, email, or text.
2.They will ask to complete a financial transaction by Interac e-transfer, bitcoin, prepaid credit cards or gift cards from retailers such as iTunes, Amazon, or others
3.The person will claim to be an investigator, demand immediate payment. Use aggressive language or threaten you with an arrest or leaves such voicemails that are threatening.
4.Ask you to click on a link or ask you to fill in an online form with personal or financial details
5.Send you an email with a link to your refund
6.Set up a meeting with you in a public place to take a payment

How to protect
1.Caller ID is a useful feature, but criminals can alter the information it displays. Never use only the displayed information to confirm the identity of the caller.
2.Be suspicious if an individual ever asks you to pay taxes or other fees via an email, a call or text message
3.Keep your access codes, user ID, passwords, and PINs secret
4.Update your current address with all government departments and agencies
5.Before supporting any charity, use the CRA website to find out if the charity is registered.
6.Be careful before you click on links in any email you receive. This could be a phishing activity to steal your personal information.
7.Pay attention to your billing cycle and ask about any missing account statements or suspicious transactions
8.Shred unwanted documents or store them in a secure place. Make sure that documents with your name and SIN are secure
9.Immediately report lost or stolen credit or debit cards
10.You do not have to pay taxes on lottery or sweepstakes winnings, so be suspicious if you are ever asked to do that.
11.Choose your tax preparer carefully! Make sure you choose someone you trust and check their references.
12.Monitor your tax accounts by registering for My Account or My Business Account. Once registered, sign up for account alerts or opt for two factor identifications.
13.Never give access of your computer to someone you didn’t contact for help. You should only have your computer fixed at a professional shop or install anti-virus software bought from a trusted store.

If you think you have been a victim of fraud
If you suspect you may be the victim of fraud, contact your local police service.
You can also ask for help from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online or by calling 1 888-495-8501.