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Five ways to avoid becoming a victim of tax scams

Canada Revenue Agency scams come in many forms — by phone, e-mail or text message.

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Canada Revenue Agency scams, known most commonly as CRA scams, come in many forms — by phone, e-mail or text message.

But the premise is the same: scammers pretend to be Canada Revenue Agency agents and claim that you haven't paid your taxes or you owe money. They then threaten you with arrest or even jail time if you don't pay right away. CRA scams also include emails and texts that claim you are owed a tax refund.

These scams increase during tax season, so it's important to be aware and be prepared.

Here's what you can do to protect yourself.

Hang up

If you don't recognize a caller, or the call sounds suspicious, hang up!

Verify your account

Call the Canada Revenue Agency at 1-800-959-8281 to verify your account.

Report the number

Call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 and report the number.

Don't pay

Remember that no government office will ask you to pay a bill in bitcoin, gift cards or bank drafts.

Avoid clicking

Don't click on links in emails that appear to be from the CRA. The CRA will never send you a text message or an email with a link to click to receive a refund, or ask for personal or financial information by email. Log onto your account via their secure website portal.

Canadians of all ages and backgrounds continue to fall victim to scammers. Last year in Canada, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre received 59,009 fraud complaints and Canadians reported more than $97 million in losses.

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre collects information on all kinds of scams and frauds. Call them at 1-888-495-8501 or go online at www.antifraudcentre.ca.

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