Navneet Kaur, a spokesperson for the Canada Revenue Agency (C.R.A.), spoke with Pembina Valley Online about tax season and how fraudsters try to take advantage.

She says scams are very prevalent at this time of year.

"One thing that I want everyone to know is that you're not alone in this. I handle my fair share of scam calls, and I get them all the time. But you always want to make sure to listen to your voice of reason," she continues. "If you are seeing a call, text message, or email that sounds too good to be true or is coming from an unknown source, you can ignore it."

Kaur explains that if you are unsure of a message you have received, you can contact the C.R.A. to determine whether it's coming from a verified source.

"Scams can affect anyone due to potential vulnerabilities. We are seeing our seniors and newcomers get targeted. We are working to raise awareness and support these groups and all Canadians."

She notes there are definitely telltale signs when it comes to scammers trying to take advantage.

"You'll notice that the person is trying to contact you and may pressure you to pay immediately. They might be extremely aggressive or threaten you. They might ask you to send money, gift cards, cryptocurrencies, and E-transfers. Those are things that we never ever do, so you want to watch out for that."

The C.R.A. is constantly tracking any new scams with the help of the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center, according to Kaur.

"This is tax season at this point. So, scammers are getting more and more active because they know this is the time of year when everyone is going to contact the C.R.A. or are preparing to file."

Kaur adds that people should attempt to be as cyber-smart as possible, as technology is taking over much of our lives. 

She goes on to identify a checklist for avoiding scammers.

"Number one, do not click on unknown links in emails. Don't recycle your passwords. Change them periodically. Do not be afraid to say no. Trust me, no one will penalize you for hanging up. And follow what I call the B.I.R.D. method. So, Block, Ignore, Report, and Delete these messages from scammers." 

Kaur notes that the tax filing deadline is Tuesday, April 30, and you should file your taxes before then to receive the benefits and credits that you're entitled to. 

(photo submitted:  Navneet Kaur, a spokesperson for the Canada Revenue Agency (C.R.A.)