The impact of technology on information protection is significant. Innovative methods have been developed to preserve information, but there is a constant effort to improve protecting personal info and security as hackers and identity thieves find new ways to access personal data. While some individuals take the necessary steps to safeguard their information, others may be unaware of the risks and become easy targets.

To ensure the privacy and confidentiality of taxpayer information, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has implemented a robust privacy and security framework. With over 28 million individual income tax returns processed each year, protecting personal information is a top priority. Maintaining the privacy of information is a shared responsibility, and there are several measures individuals can take to protect their personal information.


Tips to Avoid Falling into Scammers’ Traps:

  1. Familiarize yourself with scammers’ tactics: as internet fraud and robocalls posing as federal agencies like the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) have become increasingly prevalent, it is crucial for Canadians to be aware of scammers’ tactics. Scammers may use threatening language, such as warnings of arrests or legal action, to coerce victims into divulging personal information, including social security numbers.

The CRA takes security and scammer issues seriously as they have cost Canadians more than $1.4 million in 2019, according to data released by the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center. The CRA also warns Canadians not to fall for fraudulent requests such as gift cards or prepaid credit cards and e-transfer or bitcoin payment collection or distribution.

  1. Be cautious when receiving emails or links: The CRA would never send emails with links that request personal or financial information unless you have specifically requested it via phone. If a CRA representative needs to verify your identity, they may ask you to confirm certain details, such as your address or social security number, but they would not ask for sensitive information through an email link.
  2. Know what the CRA may ask for: The CRA may ask for your details, such as your address or social security number, to verify your identification. They may also call to inquire about a payment plan or to demand full payment, obtain financial evidence to prove your ability to pay, or request payment using one of their available methods. However, if they cannot reach you, they may send legal warning letters or take legal action to retrieve any unpaid debts.

By familiarizing yourself with scammers’ tactics, being cautious when receiving emails or links, and knowing what the CRA may ask for, you can protecting yourself from falling into their traps.

Importance of using strong and secure passwords for citizens

Having a strong and secure password is essential to safeguarding your income tax return, which contains sensitive personal information that can be targeted by identity thieves. According to Christine Beauchamp, director of the Canadian Center for Cyber Security, a strong and well-maintained password connected to your tax return file is crucial in protecting you from fraud and theft. When filing your taxes online through the CRA website or using a third-party tool, it’s recommended to use a password with eight to ten characters and digits, including both upper and lowercase letters.

Also read: Demystifying Income Taxes in Canada: A Comprehensive Guide

Ensuring the Security and Protection of Canadians’ Confidential Files

Ensuring the safety and security of confidential files is crucial for Canadians. When filing taxes online, it is important to be mindful of where you store the PDF of your return and supporting documents. Protecting against fraud or theft, experts recommend keeping this data on a secure disc in the documents folder of your computer, or on an encrypted external hard drive. Desktop files are less secure, so it is best to avoid saving private records there. Avoid storing sensitive information in the cloud.

It is also important to avoid filing your return from a public Wi-Fi connection, as these are vulnerable to Man-in-the-Middle attacks, which can compromise the confidentiality of your information.

If you suspect that you may have been a victim of identity theft or have inadvertently shared personal or financial information, it is important to take action. You can report potential cases of fraud or scams to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center at 1-888-495-8501, as well as to your local police department, financial institution, and credit reporting agencies. Additionally, you can contact the CRA for individuals or businesses to request enhanced security measures be added to your account, which will require additional security questions to be answered by CRA contact center representatives.


Also read: The Role of Professional Accountants in Cloud Accounting for Canadian Businesses

To summarize,

this blog has provided valuable insights on safeguarding personal information during tax season. We have learned that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) processes over 28 million income tax returns annually and has identified 34 cases of successful CRA fraud costing customers over $10,000 in total. In addition, the blog highlights the importance of using strong and secure passwords to protect income tax return files, which are prime targets for identity thieves. It is recommended to use passwords with eight to ten characters and digits, including upper and lowercase letters, and to avoid filing returns via public Wi-Fi connections or storing private records in the cloud.