Scam artists are calling and e-mailing the public, falsely claiming to be government officials, the Canada Revenue Agency said Thursday.

The federal agency says victims have been told they're owed a large amount of money from lottery winnings or a tax refund and are asked to provide bank account and credit card numbers and confidential passwords.

The CRA is urging the public to be vigilant, saying everyone should carefully scan all unsolicited correspondence. People should also be on the lookout for noticeable typos, grammatical errors and blurry letterhead.

The agency also says it never asks people to deposit money into bank accounts registered to an individual, noting all tax debts are payable only to the Receiver General for Canada.

People who have been asked for their personal banking information should not respond and should contact their local police or the RCMP immediately.