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Better Business Bureau Reminds Canadians to Watch for Scams

With the 2021 tax season underway, the Better Business Bureaus (BBB) is reminding the public to be wary of tax scams that may target their identities and savings.

Online tax filing is generally considered faster and more convenient, according to the BBB, but it also “widens the net of opportunity for scam artists.”

The BBB wrote in a news release that Canadians should watch out for phishing emails with “malicious links” and fake Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) websites or calls asking for personal information. In addition, taxpayers should be aware of any non-traditional methods of communication such as texts or social media messages.

On its website, the CRA notes that it is possible staff could call to discuss their tax and benefit situations. These reasons could include money owed to the CRA, missing tax returns, questions about new business registration, submitted tax and benefit documents, or corporate returns.

However, it is important to note that real CRA agents are prepared to verify their identities, the CRA writes, and the public is encouraged to ask for the caller’s name, phone number and office location. Residents can then search that phone number online to check its legitimacy, and call the CRA agent back to discuss the reason for the call.

The CRA warns that signs the call may be illegitimate include pressure from the caller to act now, requests for information unrelated to a tax return or money owed to the CRA, such as a credit card number, and offers to help you apply for benefits.

Citizens are encouraged to report any scams they encounter at or by calling 1-888-495-8501. Those who believe they’ve been the victim of fraud, or who unknowingly provided personal or financial information are encouraged to contact their location police detachment, financial institution and credit reporting agencies, says the CRA.

Anyone who believes their SIN number has been stolen can contact Service Canada at 1-800-206-7218.

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