Scam alert: text, messages being sent out across region on ‘grocery rebate’
The Canada Revenue Agency is warning residents of the West Kootenay about a new fraud.
The agency said fraudsters have been sending emails and text messages — to people throughout the region including Nelson and Castlegar — offering people the new federal government grocery rebate.
In the text of the messages, the fraudsters claim to be representing the CRA.
“The CRA reminds all Canadians to beware of fraudulent telephone calls, emails or text messages claiming to be from the CRA,” the agency said in a statement. “These are scams that could result in identity and financial theft.”
People eligible for the grocery rebate will either have a cheque mailed to them or have the funds automatically deposited into their bank account. As well, the CRA never uses texts or instant messages to contact anyone, under any circumstances.
However, people could receive a phone call from the CRA if they owe money or file their taxes late.
To qualify for the grocery rebate people must have filed a tax return for 2021, even if they had no income to report. Those entitled to receive the GST/HST credit for January 2023 will receive the payment.
If people didn’t qualify for the GST/HST credit, they may still be eligible for the grocery rebate, since eligibility is based on 2021 tax returns, whereas the GST/HST credit is based on 2022 tax returns.
What is the grocery rebate?
Beginning July 5, millions of Canadians started to receive a one-time tax credit to put toward their grocery bill.
Announced in the 2023 spring federal budget, the grocery rebate was aimed to help negate the rising cost of groceries, “which have become noticeably more expensive.” As of April 2023, grocery prices rose 9.1 per cent year over year, according to Statistics Canada.
According to the CRA, an estimated 11 million Canadians will receive this payment.
The grocery rebate is available for Canadians who have either:
- a household income of $38,000 or less; and
- an individual income of $32,000 or less.
Recognizing the scam
CRA offered a tip on how to recognize the scam: the fraudulent email or text message claims to be from the CRA and contains a link. It is advised not to reply to the email or text, or click the link.
Instead, the grocery rebate will be delivered directly to eligible individuals.
The CRA will not ask people by text message or email for:
- personal information; and
- bank information.
The CRA has offered steps people should take if they are the victim of a scam or fraud and believe CRA account information has been compromised: What to do if you’re a victim of a scam.