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Beware of Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Scam Emails; Example Provided

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?

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 is an example of a scam email.

From: refund-tax® <complete.request19f–5pIR–4BicP–PEeu–>
Date: December 18, 2018 at 18:09:57 EST
To: <>
Subject: Payment receipt return | Review your automatic payment | Item No.03618854|543325355|18/12/2018

This is an automatically generated email.
Please do not reply as the email address is not monitored for received mail.

{Hello} Person we are trying to scam

Thank you for registering for the Canada Revenue Agency Portal.

You have received this email to be notified that the Canada Revenue Agency – (
has issued a refund and you’ll receive 556.33 CAD directly on your credit card.

Login at refund Canada Revenue Agency PORTAL

-the link expire’s on 18 December 2018.
-have your credit/debit card ready
-follow the instructions on your screen

Payment details:
Amount: 556.33 CAD
Description: Payments from Government of Canada
Transaction ID: 857F9B7F22A2C4-98968HR
Date: 18 December, 2018

Please note: (CRA Government of Canada) Office will never request your password or financial information via email.

Note : A refund can be delayed a variety of reasons, for example submitting invalid records or applying after deadline.

Some quick notes:

If you hover over (DO NOT CLICK) the link that reads Canada Revenue Agency PORTAL, you will notice the URL is  http://velacendobv3ahvs8h9qoj.sace.camerosca.scam.  (I changed the end of it in case anyone clicks it).

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.


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 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?  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 might have worked a year ago, the CRA moved to 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.

Stay safe.

If you’re not sure, just ask!

TurboTax.  We’re here to help!