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Ottawa— The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has warned citizens to beware of telephone calls or emails that claim to be from the CRA but are not. These are phishing and other fraudulent scams that could result in identity and financial theft. Also Read - 31 arrested for running 'call centre' that duped US citizens: Noida Police

You should be especially aware of phishing scams asking for information such as credit card, bank account, and passport numbers. The CRA would never ask for this type of information. Some of these scams ask for this personal information directly, and others refer to a website resembling the CRA’s, where you are asked to confirm your identity by entering personal information. You should not click on links included in these emails. Email scams may also contain embedded malicious software that can harm your computer and put your personal information at risk.

Some recent telephone scams involve threatening or forceful language to scare you into paying fictitious debt to the CRA. If you get such a call, hang up and report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca or toll free at 1-888-495-8501).

Some recent email scams involve telling you that you are entitled to a refund of a specific amount or telling you that your tax assessment has been verified and you are getting a tax refund. These emails often have CRA logos or Internet links that look official. Some contain obvious grammar or spelling mistakes.

These types of communication are not from the CRA. When the CRA calls you, it has established procedures in place to make sure your personal information is protected. If you want to confirm the authenticity of a CRA telephone number, call the CRA by using the numbers on its Telephone numbers page.

The number for business-related calls is 1-800-959-5525. The number for calls about individual concerns is 1-800-959-8281.

To help you identify possible scams, you can use the following guidelines:

  • The CRA never asks for information about your passport, health card, or driver’s license
  • Never shares your taxpayer information with another person, unless you have provided the appropriate authorization.
  • Never leave personal information on your answering machine or asks you to leave a message containing your personal information on an answering machine.

This story originally appeared on The Weekly Voice.