It’s tax time, which means scam season has officially begun.
Right around springtime every year, when income tax deadlines are looming ever closer, criminals take to phones and the internet to scam unsuspecting people out of huge sums of money. Unfortunately, this year is no different. The good news is, we’re here to tell you exactly how these scams work, so that you’ll be the wrong taxpayer to mess with.
The con is remarkably simple. Someone may call you (or sometimes even email you) from a number or web address that appears to be related to the Canada Revenue Agency. The person on the other end will explain to you that you somehow owe a whole wack of money to the government, and they will likely try to pressure you into forking over thousands of dollars before you have time to think anything through.The most common way they do this is by saying that the CRA is about to issue an arrest warrant in your name, and the only way to avoid that is to pay.
If you fall for this scam, it is extremely unlikely that you will get your money back. So it’s very important to know what to look for.
The solution, fortunately, is simple. If you ever receive a call from the CRA that doesn’t feel quite right, or if they do what we just described above, simply hang up and then call the CRA back yourself. That is the only way to ensure you will actually be speaking with someone from the agency.
Once you make the call, ask the CRA representative to confirm if anything the previous caller said was true. If it isn’t, report the call to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, because that means it was a scam. Hopefully, the information you provide to them will be enough for police to both locate and then haul those money-siphoning scumbags off to jail.
The bottom line is that any caller who is threatening to send you to jail for not paying up immediately shouldn’t be trusted. Another warning sign would be if the caller demands payment via a prepaid credit card.
For more information on what to look out for, check out the video above.