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Canada Revenue Agency scams tax Canadian’s patience

As if calculating and paying taxes weren’t bad enough, Canadians must also deal with phone scammers who try to con them out of their hard-earned money. 

Phone scammers impersonating the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) work year-round. Still, tax-related scam calls surge in April — ahead of the April 30 deadline to file taxes — and remain elevated through July. Many scam calls warn recipients of unpaid taxes or tax evasion, so targeting them in the months following the tax deadline makes the calls more convincing. 

Canada Revenue Agency scams@2x

Canada Revenue Agency scams surge as the annual tax filing deadline of April 30 approaches.

Want to know more about phone scams in Canada? Download Hiya’s Global Call Threat Report, which tracks spam and fraud rates in 39 countries worldwide.

How CRA scams work

Canada Revenue Agency is aware of scams impersonating its agents, and includes this warning on its website:

As a taxpayer, you should be cautious if you receive any communication that claims to be from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and requests personal information such as a social insurance number (SIN), credit card number, bank account number, or passport number. Scams may insist that personal information is needed so that you can receive a refund or a benefit payment. 

CRA maintains a webpage with sample telephone scams that Canadians may receive. Here is one example:

“In the next 24 hours we will be marking a lien on your assets and your bank accounts due to your inability to settle your dues with the CRA. A bill collection officer will visit you soon to complete the paperwork. If you have any questions then call our tax default line, 888-745-0433. If you don’t call immediately, or if we don’t hear from your attorney either, then you will be solely responsible for all legal consequences.”

What Hiya users are saying about CRA scams

Consumers using Hiya Protect through their device manufacturer or the Hiya mobile app can tap a prompt on their handset to report fraud and nuisance calls, and they can also leave a comment about the call. Here are comments we’ve received from users in Canada about CRA scams:

“Canada Revenue calling saying Social Insurance Number has been canceled. Press 1 to connect.”

“CRA scam. I called the number back and some young guy answered the phone. He had a North American accent. It sounded like a college age person.”

“Fake Revenue Canada — uses the same first 3 digits of my number.” 

“Portraying as CRA and asking for banking information.”

“Claims to be from the CRA. I called the CRA who had no record of this person or the number I was instructed to call.”

CRA scams to watch out for

CRA publishes scam alerts that warn Canadians of various types of tax scams they might encounter over the phone or via email or text. Included in the list are scams relating to:

  • The GST/HST tax refund/credit (Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax)

  • The Canada Carbon Rebate

  • The Grocery Rebate

  • Emergency or disaster benefits

  • Phishing scams offering a tax refund

  • Threats of arrest by the Canadian Royal Mounted Police for unpaid taxes

The agency also offers scam prevention tips and phone numbers for those who fall victim to a CRA scam.

Learn more about phone scams in Canada

Want to learn more about phone scams in Canada? Download Hiya’s Global Call Threat Report.

The Q4 2023 report reveals that Canadians receive an average of 4 spam calls per person per month. That compares with 15 calls per person in the US. Canada also has a relatively low spam rate of 22%. Of those unwanted calls, 15% are nuisance and 7% are suspected fraud. The most common phone scams in Canada in Q4 were:

Canada pie chart from Q4 Global Call Threat Report, page 12

The Global Call Threat Report reveals that Canadians receive an average of 4 spam calls per person per month, of which 22% are suspected spam.  

The Global Call Threat Report breaks down spam and fraud rates by region, including Europe, the Americas, and Asia-Pacific. It also highlights the most common scam calls in the US, Canada, UK, Spain, France, Germany, and Brazil.

 You can download the report by clicking below.

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Author Andrea Moreno

Carrier Customer Marketing Manager