I got an email from CRA, is it legit?

By Randall Orser | Personal Income Tax

spam-emailYou opened up your email today and there was an email from Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). You look bewildered, as you haven’t had any other correspondence from them, not even a phone call. And, you know you didn’t subscribe to receive any emails from CRA either.

This email is bogus, especially if it’s requesting ANY personal information from you such as your social insurance number, birthdate, address, etc. First, CRA doesn’t use email to contact taxpayers like you when it relates to your tax filings, refunds, credits, etc. Second, CRA already has your personal information so why would they be asking for it. Never respond to such emails as the sender is on a phishing expedition to get your personal information and commit identity fraud.

When in doubt, ask yourself the following:

  • Am I expecting additional money from the CRA?
  • Does this sound too good to be true?
  • Is the requester asking for information I would not include with my tax return?
  • Is the requester asking for information I know the CRA already has on file for me?
  • How did the requester get my email address?
  • Am I confident I know who is asking for the information?

Whenever you get an email from CRA, look at it and think twice before you respond. If you can print the email to a PDF, send it to CRA, as they want to know what’s going around as far as these fraudulent email. You can also contact your local police department too. Here are some samples of emails that have been going around the past few years.

Some Samples of Fraudulent Emails

Our first example uses something many are familiar with and that’s the INTERAC e-Transfer. I’m sure some of you have had someone send you money via this means I know I have. However, you get an email from that person’s bank and you go do the INTERAC e-Transfer website, not CRA’s website. Also, CRA NEVER uses INTERAC e-Transfer, and would direct deposit the funds right into your account (as long as you signed up for direct deposit, otherwise, you get a cheque).

Sample 1

From: notify@payments.interac.ca
Sent: Monday, June 25, 2012 5:23 PM
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: INTERAC e-Transfer from Canada Revenue Agency System

Dear customer,

Canada Revenue Agency has sent you an INTERAC e-Transfer.

(Previously INTERAC Email Money Transfer).

Amount: $120.00 (CAD)

Sender’s Message: A message was not provided

Expiry Date: 25 June 2012

Action Required:

To deposit your money, click here: (web link)

Trouble with the link? Type it into your web browser address bar.

Need help? (web link)
What is an INTERAC e-Transfer? (Previously INTERAC Email Money Transfer). If you use online or mobile banking at a participating financial institution, you can send and receive money quickly and easily.

Email or text messages carry the notice while the financial institutions securely transfer the money using existing payment networks. If your financial institution does not yet offer INTERAC e-Transfer, you can still deposit transfers to any bank account in Canada.

Click (web link) for details.
Pour voir les d?tails du virement en fran?ais, cliquez sur le lien ci-dessous: (web link)


Here’s a good one! Really, do you think CRA is going to send you an email if they think you’re committing tax evasion? More than likely you’ll get a knock at the door from a process server with a subpoena to turn up at tax court.

Sample 2

Dear business affiliate,

A criminal complaint has been filled against you and the company you are affiliated with. 
Your Company is being accused of trying to commit tax evasion schemes.

The full text of the complaint file (PDF format) can be downloaded from the CRA website, by visiting the following link: 
(web link)

For more information, please check our business information section, 2nd paragraph, and “Authorizing a representative”: 
(web link)

An official response from you is required, in order to take further action. 
Please review the charges brought forward in the complaint file, and contact us as soon as possible by:

Telephone: 800-267-6999
Email: complaints@cra-arc.gc.ca

Thank you,

Canada Revenue Service


Sample 3

You gotta love this one! Not only do they take the logo off the website, they actually use official looking numbers in the email address. CRA does have identification numbers for staff but they vary from department and have letters in them. The officiality (not sure if that’s a word) of the writing is pretty funny too. Really, ‘fiscal activity’, even CRA doesn’t sound that official. If you are getting a refund and it’s late, you will get a letter from CRA requesting further information, not this stupid looking email.

From: Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) <memberID-63692@cra-arc.gc.ca>
Date: 24 November, 2011 6:59:00 AM EST
Subject: [Bulk] Tax Refund (776752) $320.50
Reply-To: memberID-85140@cra-arc.gc.ca


Dear Canada Revenue Agency customer,

After the last annual calculation of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of $320.50.

Please submit the tax refund form on Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) website and allow us 3-5 business days to process the information.

A refund can be delayed for a variety of reasons.

For example submitting invalid records or applying after the deadline.

To access the form for your tax refund, please Click Here.

Thank you,

Canada Revenue Agency Online Security Department.

About the Author

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