Tax season can be a stressful time for many Canadians, especially when it comes to protecting themselves from tax fraud. Fraudulent activity during tax season can result in identity theft, financial loss, and even legal consequences. To help keep yourself safe this tax season, below are four tips for fraud prevention.
Protect your personal information:
Your Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a valuable piece of personal information that fraudsters can use to commit tax fraud. To protect your SIN, make sure to keep your card in a safe place and never share your number with anyone unless absolutely necessary. Additionally, make sure to shred any documents that contain your personal information before throwing them away.
When using the CRA’s online service, ensure you have a strong password in place and do not share your CRA security code or your CRA user ID and password with anyone. Want to double down on your online security? Clearing your browser’s cache history on a regular basis adds another layer of protection to your personal information online. By erasing your cache history, you not only remove any stored cookies on your device, but this reset will also prompt one of your pre-set security questions to verify your identity and level up the security of your personal information from fraudsters. Now that’s a win-win!
Be aware of scams:
Phishing scams are a common tactic fraudsters use to gain access to personal information. These scams often involve fraudulent emails, text messages or phone calls that appear to be from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). To protect yourself from phishing scams, think twice before answering unknown phone calls or opening unsolicited emails and text messages that ask for your personal or financial information. If you receive an unexpected email or text from an unknown source claiming to be from the CRA and prompting you to download a link – stop and think before you click that link! Never reply, click, or download unregistered links, as you could leave yourself vulnerable to having your personal information compromised all with the click of a button. If you receive a communication and are unsure or concerned about a potential fraud issue, log in to your account through the CRA’s secure web portal or use the CRA’s official phone number to contact them directly.
For a list of the latest scams and what to do if you suspect fraudulent activity, click here.
Install Anti-Virus Software
Installing anti-virus software on your computer or device can help you step up your online security game and protect you from malware scams. Malware not only puts your personal and financial information at risk, but it can also be used to display fake CRA notification pop-ups that prompt users to enter their personal information. To keep your anti-virus software effective against the latest attacks, be sure to keep the software up to date on all your devices and run regular scans.
Use a reputable tax preparation service:
When using a tax preparation service to file your tax return, choosing a reputable provider is an important step in your tax season journey. Look for a service provider that is registered with the CRA and has a good reputation. Additionally, review your tax return before submitting it to ensure that all information is accurate and up to date.
By following these four easy tips, you can help protect yourself from tax fraud and ensure your tax return is submitted safely and securely. If you suspect any fraudulent activity during the tax season, report it to the CRA immediately.
Boost your savings this tax season and beyond with the help of a credit union
Credit unions are a great financial option to help you manage and feel confident about your finances during tax season and all year round. Not yet a credit union member? Find your nearest credit union here.