Home ScamsPhishing Scams Canada Revenue Agency Tax Refund Phishing Scam

Canada Revenue Agency Tax Refund Phishing Scam

by Brett M. Christensen

This story was first published on July 30, 2009

For several years, fraudulent emails claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency have been targeting Canadian taxpayers.  The emails inform you that you are eligible for a tax refund. 

You are instructed to click a link, ostensibly to access an online form and begin the process of claiming the supposed tax refund.

However, the emails are not from the Canada Revenue Agency and the supposed tax refund does not exist. In fact, the message is a scam designed to trick you into divulging your personal information to Internet criminals.

Recipients who fall for the ruse and click on the link included in the emails will be taken to a bogus website designed to resemble a genuine Canada Revenue Agency web page. Once on the bogus page, the recipient will be asked to provide sensitive financial information such as credit card numbers and bank account details.

The financial information submitted on the fake tax refund form can then be collected by scammers and used for fraud and identity theft. Other Canadian versions of the scam have targeted Canada’s Department of Finance. And criminals have used the same bogus tax refund scheme to target other jurisdictions including, the United StatesAustralia, and the United Kingdom.

In order to make their claims seem more believable, the scammers often include seemingly official tax department logos, copyright notices and secondary links that lead to the genuine tax department website. Internet users should be very cautious of any emails that purport to be from their nation’s tax department that ask them to provide personal information by following a link or opening an attachment. No legitimate taxation body is likely to inform taxpayers about a possible refund and ask them to provide personal information via an unsolicited email.

This video from the Hoax-Slayer YouTube channel provides more information about such scams:

An example of the scam post:



Dear Customer,


After the last calculation of your fiscal activity, 

we have determnined that you are eligible to receive a refund of 210.98 CAD.


You must complete your form, and give to us ten working days to process your claim

As soon as your refund is confirmed, your money will be send immediately to your bank account.


Complete Your Tax Refund Form {Link reemoved]


Please do not reply to this email. We are unable to respond to inquiries sent to this address. 

For immediate answers to your questions, visit our Help Center by clicking “Help” located on any page or email.

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,