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'I ignored a big red flag,' says Burnaby woman who fell for CRA scam

A Burnaby woman is feeling red-faced because she ignored a red flag about a strange phone call she received. The caller was claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency was about taxes being owed.
CRA

A Burnaby woman is feeling red-faced because she ignored a red flag about a strange phone call she received.

The caller was claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency about taxes being owed.

The caller was putting on the pressure and that was a warning sign.

“It was a big red flag definitely,” said the woman, who didn’t want her name used because she’s embarrassed. “I should have just hung up, I guess.

Cherolle Prince, a financial crimes expert at KPMG, says you want to trust, but verify you really are dealing with the CRA before you give out any information.

"Ask the right questions to yourself, does this call make sense," she said. "Why does the CRA need that information? Have I provided that to them already? What would they be doing with that information and why do they need it now?"

Prince says a red flag may be if the caller is asking for information over the phone that CRA should already have if they are calling you.

"Yes the CRA may ask you questions, but they aren't going to call you and ask for personal information. If you call them, they may ask for personal information as a way to identify you, it is part of their authentication protocol, but they would not call you for that information," she said.

CRA spokesman Paul Murphy says if you're unsure it really is the tax agency calling that you should to ask the caller for their name, which CRA office they are calling from and their phone number.

Then, Murphy says, hang up and contact CRA using the general inquiry number on the agency's website before you provide any information and ask them to verify that the call was legitimate.

"The call display option isn't always the best because these scammers will use technology to spoof that they are calling from Canada, that they are calling from Ottawa or what have you," he said.

Murphy says CRA will never demand immediate payment in Bitcoin or gift cards.

Another red flag, Murphy says, is if the caller tells you not to talk to anyone such as a family member or your accountant about the matter.

  • With additional reporting by the Canadian Press