Yesterday we spoke to a taxpayer who had been out of Canada for two months. He said he came home to two messages from the Canada Revenue Agency on his voicemail. The messages advised that CRA had issued a warrant for his arrest, and he was required to call a toll-free number immediately. What should he do?
Thousands of people across Canada are receiving these frightening calls every day. But the calls are phony. They are not from the Canada Revenue Agency. They are from scammers who, in most cases, are not even in Canada. These scammers use scare tactics to extort money from unsuspecting taxpayers. It is not known how these scammers are sourcing your personal phone number, or how they decide who to target. Our experience suggests, however, that the people targeted often have some tax owing, or have not filed a tax return for a year or two.
These calls, which are becoming more frequent, are spooky. But they are not legitimate. Listen to this recording and you’ll see why people are confused and frightened when they hear this on their voicemail:
Here are some quick tips to help you sort genuine CRA calls from the fake ones:
1. A legitimate call from the Canada Revenue Agency WILL NOT leave a message with threats about a warrant for your arrest, passport revocation, or police visits to your home. Such threats are the hallmarks of the scammers. Do not be fooled.
2. It may be risky to call the phone number left by the scammers. It’s easy to keep records of inbound calls, and you don’t want your home phone, your work phone, or your cell phone numbers in the scammers’ database.
3. If you answer one of these calls, do not provide any information at all, especially your SIN number or even your address. When the real CRA calls you, they already know your SIN number. Simply ask the caller for his or her name and telephone number and say you will get back to them shortly. Do not send money, and do not give them a credit card number. (CRA doesn’t take credit card payments!) And above all do not agree to meet a CRA agent at a local Tim Horton’s to make a cash payment that will “settle” your tax bill once and for all. YOu’ll be out the money, and your CR balance will remain unchanged.
4. If you are unsure of the status of your tax affairs, or you suspect you may owe something or have an unfiled tax year, this could be a wake-up call to clean things up. You can certainly phone CRA general inquiries and ask the agent to check up on your tax account. But if there is some unfinished business, that could waken the sleeping dragon and put the CRA on your case.
Talk to DioGuardi first. As your authorized representative, DioGuardi can review your tax accounts online without alerting the CRA, and then report back to you. If there is a balance outstanding, or some tax years unfiled, we can then work with you to file everything up to date and, if necessary, negotiate with CRA for payment on terms you can afford.
Use the easy booking form on our homepage to arrange an appointment. Or phone 1-877-4-DIO-TAX.