Phone and email scams circulating in tax season and through the year

It’s tax time and a fraud analyst with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre in North Bay says the Canada Revenue Agency scams get the most complaints year after year.
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre says the Canada Revenue Agency will never call you and demand payment or threaten legal action. (Robson Fletcher/CBC)

It's tax time and an analyst with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre in North Bay says the Canada Revenue Agency scams gets the most complaints year after year.

The phone rings and whether you pick it up or let it go to voicemail, you get a message claiming to be from the CRA with a threat of having you arrested unless you dial the given number because there is a lawsuit being filed in your name. It's a scam that's been around with slight variations for a few years now. The CBC's Kate Rutherford spoke about this type of scam with Rob Rochefort of the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre in North Bay. 5:32

Robert Rocheforte says the emails or voicemails claiming to be from the CRA threaten legal action and even arrest if the recipient doesn't follow directions.

He says there were 24,000 complaints in 2016.

Rocheforte says the scammers target vulnerable people.

"If you are an immigrant to Canada they will even threaten deportation," he said.

Rochefort says if you know you are talking to a scammer and resist, the scammer, could retaliate.

"We have seen it before, in some scams, different scams, not just this one, in which consumers have received over twenty calls a day from these scammers," he said.

Rocheforte says never engage with a suspected scammer, just contact police, 

The CRA would never  threaten a lawsuit in a call or voicemail or pressure people to with the fear of arrest, said Rocheforte.

With files from Kate Rutherford