How To Protect Yourself From Identity Theft

There has been a noticeable increase in suspicious phone calls and emails from people claiming to be from Canada Revenue Agency in 2016.  Below are some tips as well as a link to CRA’s website with valuable information and tips to help protect your finances and identity.  The best rule of thumb is if it feels wrong or suspicious it probably is.  Trust your instincts and ask questions before paying any amount or giving sensitive information.  If you have received a call or email of this nature you can report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online or by calling 1-888-495-8501.

  • Protect your social insurance number. Don’t use it as a piece of ID and never reveal it to anyone unless you are certain the person asking for it is legally entitled to that information. If an organization asks for your social insurance number, ask if it is legally required to collect it, and if not, offer other forms of ID.
  • CRA cannot have you arrested.  Some calls are claiming that the authorities are on the way to your home to arrest or charge you. There is a legal process which must be followed and CRA will notify you in writing of any action which is being taken or considered.
  • If in doubt use your My account login (account must be created first) or call CRA directly to confirm any amounts outstanding before making any payments.
  • Always ask for an agent I.D. # when speaking with anyone claiming to be from CRA.
  • Never provide personal information through the Internet or by email. The CRA does not ask you to provide personal information by email.
  • Be suspicious if you are ever asked to pay taxes or fees to the CRA on lottery or sweepstakes winnings. You do not have to pay taxes or fees on these types of winnings. These requests are scams.
  • Keep your access codes, user ID, passwords, and PINs secret.
  • Keep your address current with all government departments and agencies.
  • Choose your tax preparer carefully! Make sure you choose someone you trust and check their references. Always review your return, agree with the content before filing, and follow up to make sure you receive your notice of assessment, since it contains important financial and personal information that belongs to you.
  • Before supporting any charity, use the CRA website at www.cra.gc.ca/charities to find out if the charity is registered and get more information on the way it does business.
  • Be careful before you click on links in any email you receive. Some criminals may be using a technique known as phishing to steal your personal information when you click on the link.
  • Caller ID is a useful function. However, the information displayed can be altered by criminals. Never use only the displayed information to confirm the identity of the caller whether it be an individual, a company or a government entity.
  • Pay attention to your billing cycle and ask about any missing account statements or suspicious transactions.
  • Shred unwanted documents or store them in a secure place. Make sure that documents with your name and SIN are secure. AMA (Alberta Motor Association) offers many free shred events throughout the year.
  • Immediately report lost or stolen credit or debit cards.
  • Carry only the ID you need.
  • Do not write down any passwords or carry them with you.
  • Ask a trusted neighbour to pick up your mail when you are away or ask Canada Post that a hold be placed on delivery until you return.
    http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/scrty/frdprvntn/menu-eng.html

 

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