Beware of CRA phone scams

It can be financially devastating when one falls for one of these scams. Especially seniors today, who still are the most vulnerable to be taken by scammers. Trusting Canadians have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars, often to overseas scammers, believing that they are being threatened by Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for outstanding tax bills.

First and foremost, know that CRA will never leave threatening phone messages. They will also never demand immediate payment by Western Union, e-transfer, prepaid credit card, bitcoin or any form of gift cards from popular retailers (ie: Amazon, Apple, etc).

If in doubt with the legitamacy of the call, check by calling CRA directly. Their official phone numbers are listed on their website. Their current toll free number is 1-800-959-8281. Here is the link to CRA’s website

And don’t worry, they will never threaten you with police intervention or jail time over the phone.

Beware of CRA scams!

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has posted some warnings on scams whereby thousands of unsuspecting Canadians have fallen prey to and lost millions of dollars to scammers.

Check out the government’s website for more information and how to protect yourself – click here. Here are some important points mentioned by CRA on its website –

1) By phone, CRA will never

  • ask for information about your passport, health card, or driver’s license
  • demand immediate payment by Interac e-transfer, bitcoin, prepaid credit cards or gift cards from retailers such as iTunes, Amazon, or others
  • use aggressive language or threaten you with arrest or sending the police
  • leave voicemails that are threatening or give personal or financial information

2) By email, CRA will never

  • give or ask for personal or financial information by email and ask you to click on a link
  • email you a link asking you to fill in an online form with personal or financial details
  • send you an email with a link to your refund
  • demand immediate payment by Interac e-transfer, bitcoin, prepaid credit cards or gift cards from retailers such as iTunes, Amazon, or others
  • threaten you with arrest or a prison sentence

3) By mail, CRA will never

  • set up a meeting with you in a public place to take a payment
  • demand immediate payment by Interac e-transfer, bitcoin, prepaid credit cards or gift cards from retailers such as iTunes, Amazon, or others
  • threaten you with arrest or a prison sentence

4) CRA never uses text messages or instant messaging such as Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp to communicate with taxpayers under any circumstance. If a taxpayer receives text or instant messages claiming to be from the CRA, they are scams!

5) Other useful information on scammers posing as CRA employees. Check out this CRA’s website link – click here.

What are you doing for the rest of your life?

It’s time to take a reality check.   We are all living longer.  So the answer to the question ‘what are you doing for the rest of your life?’ takes on more importance as we age.

Today, many younger retirees are transitioning back from full retirement to part-time entrepreneurship.   How satisfying is it to engage in an activity  you love and making a business out of doing so?   Channeling your passion into something profitable is always an exciting venture.

Some fun and unique businesses that’s been popping up include:

1)   be a local tour guide if you live close to a popular tourist location.
For example, a number of retired Vancouverites are guides and commentators.  Leading small and specialized groups on nature hikes, architectural walks, and local art crawls.

   sharing diy experience
2)   presenting seminars in your area of knowledge, experience, expertise at local colleges and community centres;

   handmade soaps
3)   making and selling craft products and unique services.
For example, a retired teacher is now an entrepreneurial soapmaker selling fragrant soaps online as well as holding workshops on how soaps are made.

So go ahead, think of a way to marry your hobby or interest into something profitable now that you have the time!

Celebrate February!

February is such an uplifting month.   The winter shivers are about to leave us with spring being just around the corner.

Here are four great reasons to celebrate –

1)  It’s Valentine month – the month of love.

2)  It’s Chinese New Year!  This is the year of the horse to help gallop in a year of good health, great wealth and peace across the land.

3)  It’s the month to cheer on our favourite Sochi Olympians.


tulip time!

tulip time!

4)  It’s the month when flowers are about to bloom … soon!

So get out, enjoy, celebrate!!!


Rethink New Year Resolutions

Many of us think to make resolutions for the new year and that’s a good thing.   But instead of the popular “I want to lose weight” or “I’m going to quit smoking (drinking, etc. …)”, go one step further by adding 2 measurable perimeters to your resolution.

The first is to give it an amount that is a number.    For example, instead of “I want to lose weight”, your resolution need to include “20 lbs (weight)”.

The second perimeter is to give the resolution a deadline.       So if your resolution is to “Quit smoking”, state “I want to completely stop my one-pack-a-day cigarette smoking habit by June 30, 2014”.

These two perimeters help you define further your goals and how to achieve them.   They are measurable and you can monitor them as your progress.

Of course, don’t be too hard on yourself with resolutions.   Don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t lose the 20 lbs by June 30th (bikini season), instead celebrate your achievement of losing 10.   Revisit your resolution and reset your goal.   Was it a bit too ambitious?   Was it realistic?

The bottom line is to make new year resolutions that are right for you, and are achievable and measurable.  Than put in some hard work and keep your eye on the prize (resolution goal).    And don’t forget to celebrate the milestones along the way.

So what is your New Year resolution for 2014?