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Beware of Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Scam Emails/Text messages or online forms

In the old days, when receiving a telemarketing phone call it was duct cleaning. Then it was scam emails where a foreign prince needs a bridge loan. Today, it could be a criminal trying to convince you that they are calling from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

They used to have a live person call, and while as a former CRA employee, I used to revel in stringing them along asking a ton of questions; Canadians have lost countless fortunes to these phone calls. They may threaten you on the phone or leave voice messages which have words like “criminal”, “jail”, “lawyer” and “police”. These are some of the best indications that the person you’re speaking to isn’t an actual CRA representative. When the message includes those words, it’s time to hang up.

But what about the emails/text messages/online forms? They look legitimate. They look real. They seem plausible.

Until you realize that the CRA only emails people to advise that they have mail waiting for them in their MyCRA Account, then you know that it’s best to mark it spam and move on.

Below are a few examples of scam emails, text messages or online forms:

Another example of fraudulent emails you may receive is here

Here is a Text Message Scam.

Fraudulent Online Refund forms samples here .

Some quick points to take into account:

If you hover over the link that reads Canada Revenue Agency PORTAL, you will notice the URL is a series of letters and numbers that make no sense at all such as http://velacendobv3ahvs8h9qoj.sace.camerosca.(scam) precisely. This will give the indication that the email is NOT legitimate. That is not the link to the CRA website. In fact, the “Canada Revenue Agency PORTAL” is called CRA MyAccount. That, and other obvious grammar mistakes should prompt you to question the legitimacy of this email and deduce that it’s a SCAM. And finally, please note that the Canada Revenue Agency NEVER sends emails with $ amounts, refunds or taxes owing.

Let’s recap!

  1. CRA emails Taxpayers only to let them know they have mail in their MyCRA Account. With a “This is an automatic email message. Please do not Reply” at the very beginning of the email. No links attached whatsoever. This is only if you have registered with them to have them email you instead of receiving standard canada post mail.
  2. There is no such thing as “Canada Revenue Agency PORTAL”
  3. The URL, should you click on the link, is a scam unknown email.
  4. Why would CRA deposit a refund onto your credit card?  They wouldn’t. That is very bizarre.
  5. General Internet rules say you should NEVER, EVER input personal information into an unknown website.
  6. Even the “From” email looks completely illegitimate… While “refund@cra.gc.ca” might have worked a year ago; the CRA moved to “@canada.ca” so the scammers changed that later in the email, but after the “from” the actual email really is a garbled mess of letters, numbers, and other characters.

Please visit this site from the CRA for more detailed information on extortion that may affect you and your loved ones.

Stay safe and protect your personal information as well as your bank account.

If you’re not sure, just ask! Contact TurboTax through our community page by posting your question. You can also go to our Facebook or Twitter page, or contact the CRA directly to ensure you are not being duped into giving out your personal information or bank account details. These scammers are getting better by the day. Pay attention to EVERY detail of any email/text or online form you may receive, and make sure you are not being extorted.

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