February is an eventful month – World Nutella Day, Valentine’s Day, and the thrilling start of Tax Season! Just like with chocolates and love, scammers can also be tricky at this time of year. As we start filing our taxes, it’s important to stay alert to protect ourselves from tax season scams. So let’s take a look at what to watch out for and how to stay safe!
Be cautious of any unexpected calls claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
It’s important to be aware that scammers use methods like this called voice phishing, or “vishing”, where they pretend to be a CRA official to convince you to give them personal information like your Social Insurance Number (SIN), credit card and bank account numbers, or passport number. If you receive a call and you’re not sure it’s legitimate, it’s best to hang up. You can check out the CRA’s tips to protect yourself against fraud or call 1‑800‑959‑8281 to confirm it’s the CRA who is contacting you.
It's not just vishing, it's phishing too.
Just as you should be careful about any unexpected calls, you should also be wary of unexpected emails and texts. Some phishing scams may offer fake rewards like “additional money on your tax return” if you click on a link and enter your personal information through a “CRA” website. It’s important to know that the CRA will never send you an email or text with a link to your refund. So if there’s a link inside a message claiming to be from the CRA, don’t click it – it could cost you more than you think.
Choose your tax preparer carefully!
Tax preparers have access to a lot of sensitive personal information. Choose a company or someone you trust and be sure to check their references. Always review your return and agree with the content before filing and follow up to make sure you receive your notice of assessment, since it contains important financial and personal information that belongs to you.
Tax season isn’t fun for most of us, but with a few simple measures you can make sure scammers don’t make it worse. Keeping your eye out for any suspicious calls or emails, picking a trustworthy tax preparer, and double-checking everything will go a long way to keeping your information safe.