Tax scams

The scam

A scammer pretends to be contacting you from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and tries to get your banking information or tries to get you to send them money.

How it works

You get a text message or an email from someone claiming to be from the CRA who says you’re entitled to an unexpected tax refund and all you need to do is provide your banking details. Another variation is they call you or email you to say that you owe the CRA money and that you need to pay right away, or else they will report you to the police.

How to spot it

If you receive a call, letter, email or text from CRA you can verify whether it’s authentic by logging into your account via the CRA’s online portal or by calling them at 1-800-959-8281.

Emails from the CRA will never ask for financial information or request personal information such as a social insurance number (SIN), credit card, bank account or passport numbers.

The CRA’s only accepted payment methods online, in person, or by mail. More information at:

Protect yourself

The CRA will never:

  • use aggressive or threatening language
  • threaten you with arrest or send police
  • ask for payments via cryptocurrency (Bitcoin), prepaid credit cards or gift cards (such as cards for iTunes or Home Depot)
  • use text messages to communicate under any circumstances

Further reading