(Reading time 45 seconds. Plus 2 minutes 25 seconds for the Tax Scam article)
Scammers use our fears to dominate, intimidate and manipulate us.
If we drop our fears (easier said than done), scammers have no leverage over us.
These fears are subconscious. That’s why it’s easier said than done.
Fears lodge when we are traumatized to lesser and greater degrees.
The trauma can be as simple as someone cutting us off in traffic. That creates a rush of adrenaline.
Unless we take a few moments to release it, that trauma lodges as muscular tension.
Animals shake off their traumas by trembling for a few minutes.
We humans have become used to not shake things off…certainly not in public.
Laughter works. I use it all the time when a driver does something silly.
Trembling works. Deep breathing. Smiling. Visualizations (pull over for that one).
What do you do to release tensions created by fright inducing situations?
This article was triggered by an alert issued by Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Scammers have been targeting seniors recently in Canada.
When you read this article, just substitute your own tax authority. IRS in the USA, Inland Revenue in the UK and so on.
Tax Scam Article
(reading time 2 minutes 25 seconds)
DON’T GET SCAMMED.
CRA SCAMS INCREASING
CRA Issues Alert:
More reports are coming in about scammers posing as CRA agents on the phone.
CRA will never ask for your personal information on the phone.
Scammers have been asking taxpayers for info such as social insurance number, credit card number, bank account number, or passport number.
Sometimes the scammer sends the taxpayer to a fake CRA website. There you are to enter some personal info to identify yourself. Don’t go to the site and definitely don’t click in there.
If CRA calls you, you can ask for there phone number and call them back. Check directory listing to make sure the phone number is an actual CRA number.
To identify communications not from the CRA, be aware of these guidelines.
If you have signed up for online mail from CRA, they will do the following:
* Send a registration confirmation email to the address you provided for online mail service for an individual or a business; and
* Send an email to the address you provided to notify you when new online mail is available to view in the CRA’s secure online services portal.
CRA will NOT send you an email with a link and ask you to divulge personal or financial information;
* ask for personal information of any kind by email or text message.
* request payments by prepaid credit cards.
* give taxpayer information to another person, unless formal authorization is provided by the taxpayer.
* leave personal information on an answering machine.
The exception is if you call the CRA to request a form or a link for
specific information, a CRA agent will forward the information you
are requesting to your email during the telephone call.
This is the only circumstance in which the CRA will send an email
When in doubt, ask yourself the following:
* Did I sign up to receive online mail with CRA?
* Did I provide my email address on my income tax and benefit return to receive mail online?
* Am I expecting more money from the CRA?
* Does this sound too good to be true?
* Is the requester asking for information I would not provide in my tax return?
* Is the requester asking for information I know the CRA already has on file for me?
How to protect yourself from identity theft (from CRA website).
* Never provide personal information by email.
The CRA does not ask you to provide personal information by email.
* Be suspicious if you are ever asked to pay taxes or fees
to the CRA on lottery or sweepstakes winnings. You do not
have to pay taxes or fees on these types of winnings. These
requests are scams.
* Keep your access codes, user ID, passwords, and PINs
secret. Make sure they are different for each website too!
* Keep your address current with all government
departments and agencies.
* Choose your tax preparer carefully! Make sure you
choose someone you trust and check their references. Always review your return, agree with the content before filing, and follow up to make sure you receive your notice of assessment, since it contains important financial and personal information that belongs to you.
* Before supporting any charity, use the CRA website at www.cra.gc.ca/charities to find out if the
charity is registered and get more information on the way it does business.
* Be careful before you click on links in any email you receive. Some criminals may be using a technique known as phishing to steal your personal information when you click on the link.
* Caller ID is a useful function. However, the information displayed can be altered by criminals. Never use only the displayed information to confirm the identity of the caller whether it be an individual, a company or a government entity.
* Protect your social insurance number. Don’t use it as a piece of ID and never reveal it to anyone unless you are certain the person asking for it is legally entitled to that information. If an organization asks for your social insurance number, ask if it is legally required to collect it, and if not, offer other forms of ID. CRA can ask for SIN as can any institution likely to pay you income. This would include banks, mutual funds and whole life insurance policies.
* Pay attention to your billing cycle and ask about any missing account statements or suspicious transactions.
* Shred unwanted documents or store them in a secure place. Make sure that
documents with your name and SIN are secure.
* Immediately report lost or stolen credit or debit cards.
* Carry only the ID you need.
* Do not write down any passwords or carry them with you.
* Ask a trusted neighbour to pick up your mail when you are away or ask
that a hold be placed on delivery.
* Consider a password protected password list.
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