Beware of Fraudulent Communications! The CRA Does NOT Randomly Request Personal Information.

Canada Revenue Agency
Canada Revenue Agency (Photo credit: John Bristowe)

The CRA issued a warning, as the periodically have to do, to make sure that citizens are aware of some scams being committed via email, phone and mail whereby someone is pretending to be the CRA and they are asking for personal information such as a credit card number, social insurance number (SIN), bank information or passport information.

As in EVERY other situation, if someone, anyone asks you for this information, you should NOT be providing it.

If the CRA wants to contact you for information they already know all this information and will not be asking you for it.  Even worse is the fact that the fraudsters are arguing that this personal information is needed so that the taxpayer can receive a refund or benefit payment.

Again, the CRA knows this information and if you are eligible for a program or benefit, they will either enroll you in it automatically or they will send you a letter asking you to call the CRA general enquiries line.

Another common scam refers the person to a Web site resembling the CRA’s Web site where the person is asked to verify their identity by entering  personal information.

Again, this is not true.  The CRA website is http://www.cra.gc.ca where the “gc” stands for “government Canada” and the “ca” represents that the website is Canadian.  If the fraudster persists, please hang up and call the general enquiries line to confirm or call the RCMP (details below).

So just to confirm, and this is from the CRA website;

The CRA does not do the following:

  • The CRA will not request personal information of any kind from a taxpayer by email.
  • The CRA will not divulge taxpayer information to another person unless formal authorization is provided by the taxpayer.
  • The CRA will not leave any personal information on an answering machine.

When in doubt, ask yourself the following:

  • Am I expecting additional money from the CRA?
  • Does this sound too good to be true?
  • Is the requester asking for information I would not include with my tax return?
  • Is the requester asking for information I know the CRA already has on file for me?
  • How did the requester get my email address?
  • Am I confident I know who is asking for the information?

The CRA will continue to post notifications of fraudulent communications as they become aware of them and encourages you to check their Web site should you have concerns.

Examples You will find examples of a fraudulent letter, emails, and online refund forms from the CRA’s website in the links provided.  Notice how shoddy and unprofessional the request are.  As per telephone calls, the CRA will occasionally leave messages for taxpayers on their answering machines, including a callback number, and a request for the taxpayer to have their SIN handy when they call, however, it is important to note that not all telephone messages claiming to be from the CRA are genuine.  If you have any doubt and wish to verify the authenticity of a CRA telephone number, agent name, or location. you should contact the CRA directly by using the numbers on our Telephone numbers page.  For business-related calls, contact 1-800-959-5525 and for individual concerns, contact 1-800-959-8281.

If you have responded to a fraudulent communication and have become a victim of fraud, please contact the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by email at info@antifraudcentre.ca or call 1-888-495-8501.

Be careful when giving out personal information to anyone regardless of where they claim to work.  The CRA won’t get offended.  They’ll try again a different way if necessary.

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FIN to BN Conversion Process – CRA Press Release from October 2009.

FIN to BN conversion process If you filed a T5, T5007, T5008, T5013, or Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) Contribution Receipts information return in 2008 or 2009, the CRA will automatically convert your Filer Identification Number (FIN). A successful conversion will result in an RZ account number being added to your existing BN.

Note:
Filers of the T5018 information return will have the RZ account number added to their existing BN.  

The Contract Payment Reporting System (CPRS) requires construction businesses to record payments they make to subcontractors for construction services and to report these payments to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).  The CPRS was also developed to require contract reporting by Crown corporations (since 1998) and federal departments and agencies (since 1999).

The conversion will occur throughout November and December 2009. You may have been mailed a letter advising you of your new RZ account number once it has been created.  If you did not receive one you will need to have the authorized representative contact the CRA at the general enquiries line, 1.800.959.5525 to set one up. 

Note:
If your filing is done by a branch office or a third party, such as an accountant or service bureau, advise them of your new account number.

Some FINs may not convert due to discrepancies between the FIN and the BN account information. If you do not receive notification by mail of your RZ account number by the end of December 2009, or you require an additional account to suit your business needs, contact the CRA.

If you have received notification of your RZ account number, but you are no longer required to file any of these information returns, you can have the account closed by contacting the CRA.

Note:
If you will be filing a TFSA return, you will not be part of this conversion. Go to TFSA Annual Information Return for more information.