Tax season is upon us and so is a higher risk of getting scammed, according to the Canada Revenue Agency.

According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, from January 2014 to December 2016, it is estimated that Canadians lost over $290 million to fraudsters. Canadians aged 60 to 79 represent about $28 million of that.

“Frauds can happen at any time of the year, but there is more of a risk around tax time, because people have taxes on their mind,” Gurm Kundan, spokesperson for the CRA, told  

He said the best way to avoid getting swindled is to be vigilant and know what information the CRA will and will not ask you for.

From the CRA website:

“There are many fraud types, including new ones invented daily.

Taxpayers should be vigilant when they receive, either by telephone, mail, text message or email, a fraudulent communication that claims to be from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) requesting personal information such as a social insurance number, credit card number, bank account number, or passport number.

These scams may insist that this personal information is needed so that the taxpayer can receive a refund or a benefit payment. Cases of fraudulent communication could also involve threatening or coercive language to scare individuals into paying fictitious debt to the CRA. Other communications urge taxpayers to visit a fake CRA website where the taxpayer is then asked to verify their identity by entering personal information. These are scams and taxpayers should never respond to these fraudulent communications or click on any of the links provided.

To identify legitimate communications from the CRA, be aware of these guidelines and know what to expect when the CRA contacts you.”

For a full list of the CRA’s advice on staying safe from scams, you can follow this link.