It’s no coincidence Fraud Prevention Month and tax season both take place in March. As Canadians file their taxes this spring, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre warns us to be wary of financial services and tax scams. For example, you might remember 2016 reports of taxpayers receiving emails and phone calls from fraudsters impersonating CRA employees. This is something to watch out for again in 2017. Fraud impacts thousands of Canadians every year and tax season is an important time to be aware of the risks, and take extra steps to protect yourself.
We’ve gathered our top tips for protecting your finances, to ensure that this tax season is a little less stressful.
1. Shred sensitive information
Shred any documents that include your financial information, including receipts.
2. Be alert
Remember that CRA, or any financial institution will never ask for any personal information such as account numbers, your PIN, or online banking password by phone, text message, through email, or by clicking a link. If you’re unsure about a phone call or an email, it’s best to reach out to your financial institution or to CRA directly.
3. Protect your PIN
Consider changing your PIN every few months, and don’t share it with anyone. Be sure to never share your credit card or other financial information by email, as well.
4. Watch your statements and be aware of billing cycles
Review your statements online carefully and frequently, and keep an eye out for any transactions that are out of the ordinary. Contact your financial institution immediately if you see anything suspicious.