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Beware of Tax Scams

By March 6, 2023March 30th, 2024No Comments

It’s that time of year again and while you are busy collecting your T4s cybercriminals are planning schemes to steal your identity and hard-earned money.  Let us help you with some tips to ensure you don’t get fooled!

Tax season is a busy time for many people in Canada who are focused on gathering the necessary documents and submitting their returns before the deadline. However, during this time, criminals also try to steal identities and money through fraud schemes. The Internal Revenue Service reported over $10 billion in tax fraud and financial crimes in 2021. To help reduce stress and protect yourself during tax season, this guide provides information on how to recognize possible fraud warning signs and take action if you become a victim.

  • Use an Identity Protection PIN: The IRS offers an identity protection PIN for taxpayers who have successfully verified their identity with the agency. The PIN helps prevent fraudsters from filing a false return using your Social Security number (SSN), and is only accessible by you and the IRS.
  • File Early: The IRS only accepts a single return for each SSN, so filing early can help limit the possibility of a criminal using your SSN to file a false return.
  • Use Secure Filing Websites: Use tax-filing portals with “https:” in the URL to ensure that the transmitted data between you and the site is encrypted.
  • Enable Multi-factor Authentication: When filing your taxes online, use a tax service provider that requires not only a username and password, but also a secondary factor, like a one-time security code, to access your account.
  • Create Strong Passwords: For any portal that can access your sensitive tax information, use a long, complex password that is unique to that site. You can use a password manager to create and store your passwords securely.
tax time

Protect Yourself from Scammers Stay Alert for Phishing Emails: Scammers often send fake emails that appear to be from a trustworthy source, with the intention of tricking you into revealing personal or financial information. These emails may appear to be from the Canadian government threatening legal or financial consequences if you don’t respond. Never respond, click on links, or open attachments in these emails.

Confirm Payment Details: If you owe money to the government, double-check payment instructions directly with the agency using a verified phone number or through your financial advisor. This is especially important when making wire transfers.

Elderly Protection: Elderly individuals are often targeted by tax fraud scams. These scams often involve criminals calling senior citizens and trying to scare or intimidate them into making immediate decisions. Educate your senior family members about these scams and remind them that it’s always acceptable to hang up, check with a trusted individual, and then call back using a verified number. 

For more information on how to protect yourself from common online threats, such as phishingidentity theft and cybercrime, visit Get Cyber Safe.

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