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debtor fraudulent CRA phone scam

Recently, Canadians have been dealing with frequent fraudulent communications from people pretending to be from the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA).

Much like phone calls from debt collection agencies, these can be worrisome. Here’s what you need to know about the way the CRA communicates with taxpayers.


Based on numerous reports, these fraudsters will typically:

  • Request personal information to process a refund or benefit payment.

  • Use threatening language to force someone to pay a nonexistent debt to the CRA.

  • Direct people to a fake CRA web page where they’re asked to provide personal information to confirm their identity.

The information asked for is usually a social insurance number (SIN), passport number, bank account number or credit card number.


Generally speaking, know that the CRA will never threaten you with arrest, nor will they ask for immediate payment through Interac e-transfer, bitcoin, prepaid credit cards or gift cards. Likewise, they’ll never contact you via text or instant message. Here are more details that we have broken down by method of communication:

By Phone

The CRA may:

  • Ask for your full name, date of birth, address and account, or social insurance number to verify your identity.

  • Ask businesses for account details or offer them free tax help.

  • Start an audit process.

The CRA will never:

  • Ask about your passport, health card or driver’s licence.

  • Leave voicemails containing personal or financial information.

By Email

The CRA may:

  • Notify you that a message or document can be viewed on their secure website.

  • Send you a link to a page, form or publication that you asked for during a phone call. This is the only time the CRA will send emails containing a link.

The CRA will never:

  • Send a link other than one you requested. (Any emails containing financial information, links to a refund, or a form you need to fill to confirm your identity are fraudulent.)

By Mail

The CRA will only:

  • Ask for information such as the name and location of your bank.

  • Notify you of an assessment or reassessment.

  • Ask that you pay an amount due through one of their accepted payment methods.

  • Notify you of their intent to take legal action to recover money you owe or of an audit.

The CRA will never ask you to meet in a public place to make a payment.


People in a difficult situation may be more vulnerable to these calls, especially if they think a quick payment will help them to avoid a financial burden in the long term. If you need help managing debt, you can rely on a licensed insolvency trustee from D. & A. MacLeod Company Ltd. The first appointment is always free, so contact us today.

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