Senior Financial Beat: Fraud Alert and Clerical Error in GIS Payments

Was an error made in your GIS payments?

Remember the Monopoly card that gave you money because a bank made an error in your favour? If you qualified for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) for the last several years, you may just have had a similar error made by the Canadian government.

150,000 files nationally are being reviewed by the federal government, including 23,400 in Alberta, for an error which saw low-income Canadians not receiving an increase in payments which they qualified for. While the federal government is reviewing files, if you have not received an increase in the last few years, or are just concerned about your file, contact Service Canada to have it reviewed.

The Guaranteed Income Supplement is given to low-income Canadians over the age of 65 who qualify for Old Age Security (OAS). To find out more about GIS, visit the federal government’s website.

Single female seniors target of Canada Revenue scam

Toronto police have advised that single female seniors are the target of a recent phone scam in which the fraudsters represent themselves as being part of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). They claim that the targets haven’t paid taxes, and usually use information gleaned from social media accounts to make themselves sound knowledgeable about the target.

They are very aggressive and will threaten things like immediate arrest. They will ask for funds to be transferred electronically or put onto prepaid credit cards, something which a CRA representative will never ask for.

If you actually have unpaid taxes, CRA will send you notices in the mail. Electronic communication is almost never used by CRA except through their self-service online portal. You will only receive a call from a CRA representative if you receive several notices about unpaid taxes, and they will never ask for electronic transfers except through the CRA self-serve online portal. They will never be aggressive, rude, or threaten you.

Recipients of these calls are encouraged to report them to the police. Note the date, time, and phone numbers and names that show up on call display – bearing in mind that numbers can be spoofed and the owner of the number may not know what it is being used for. If you receive any calls that you aren’t sure about, ask a neighbour or a friend to vet the call and the request for you before taking any action, or contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre to walk you through the process.