With tax season getting underway, Canadian tax officials are warning taxpayers to beware of recent phishing attempts claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

The agency is warning taxpayers about telephone calls or emails that claim to be from the CRA but are not. “These are phishing and other fraudulent scams that could result in identity and financial theft,” it says.

Recent telephone scams involve threatening or coercive language that aim to scare people into pre-paying fictitious debt to the CRA, it reports; adding that these calls should be ignored and reported to the RCMP.

Conversely, recent email scams have promised refunds of a specific amount, or claimed that taxpayers are eligible to receive a tax refund. It says that these emails often have CRA logos or links that appear official.

“Taxpayers should not click on links included in these emails. Email scams may also contain embedded malicious software that can harm your computer and put your personal information at risk,” it warns.

The CRA says that people should be particularly aware of phishing scams that ask for information such as credit card, bank account, and passport numbers. It says that it would never ask for this type information, nor does it ask about health cards, or driver’s licenses. It also says it never divulges taxpayer information to a third party without formal authorization from the taxpayer; and that it never leaves any personal information on an answering machine, or asks taxpayers to leave personal information on an answering machine.