Tax fraud is a leading outcome of identity theft.
Personal Identifying Information (PII) such as your name, social insurance number, birth date, and other data in the hands of online criminals allows them to file bogus tax returns and collect fake refunds.
Online filing makes this easy to pull off, but it doesn’t stop there.
Identity thieves may also use your personal information to obtain credit/debit cards in your name, take out loans or mortgages, get jobs or even declare bankruptcy.
Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) urges taxpayers to be vigilant when they receive, either by telephone, mail, text message or email, fraudulent communication that claims to be from CRA or any other organization, requesting personal information such as a social insurance number, credit card number, bank account number, or passport number.
With 76 percent of Canadian using online filing services, our friends at Hartford Steam Boiler recommend the following precautions to help prevent tax-related identity theft.
Keep home operating systems current with the latest security patches.
While appropriate defense systems vary greatly based on the system, a simple preventative measure includes turning on the automatic update feature in many of your security programs.
Double-check the security of your home computer network.Protect your computer network by using strong passwords (and changing them often, which many don’t do frequently).
File online from your home or a secure network.Don’t file your return electronically from a public Wi-Fi network, where hackers could steal your information.
Closely monitor financial documents.Criminals look for T-4s, tax refunds or other mail containing financial information. If it looks like mail has been previously opened upon delivery, contact Canada Revenue Agency immediately.
Use a secure mailbox.
If you’re filing by mail, post your tax return inside a post office facility. Remember — criminals have been known to steal mail from outdoor boxes.
Do not automatically provide your SIN number.
Providing a social insurance number is not required for all documentation. Provide a SIN with caution as this is what criminals are looking for.
© The Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company of Canada. All rights reserved. This article is for informational purposes only. All recommendations are general guidelines and are not intended to be exhaustive or complete, nor are they designed to replace information or instructions from the manufacturer of your equipment. Under no circumstances shall BI&I or any party involved in creating or delivering this article be liable for any loss or damage that results from the use of the information or images contained in or linked to in this article.