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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

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CRA to lock over 800,000 taxpayers out of online accounts tomorrow

The Canada Revenue Agency says it will lock more than 800, 000 taxpayers out of its online platform tomorrow after an investigation revealed that some usernames and passwords may have been obtained by “unauthorized third parties.”

The Canada Revenue Agency says 780, taxpayers will be locked out of their online accounts tomorrow after an investigation revealed that some usernames and passwords have been obtained by “unauthorized third parties.” (Graham Hughes / The Canadian Press)

The Canada Revenue Agency says it will lock more than 800, 000 taxpayers out of its online platform tomorrow after an investigation revealed that some usernames and passwords may have been obtained by “unauthorized third parties.”

The agency said the move is a precautionary cybersecurity measure and is being taken after a similar action in February, when over 19, accounts) accounts were locked. “Like the accounts that were locked in February, these user IDs and passwords were not compromised as a result of a breach of CRA’s online systems. Rather, they may have been obtained by unauthorized third parties and through a variety of means by sources external to the CRA, “said CRA in a news release.

The agency also said that such “preventative measures … may become more frequent to safeguard taxpayers’ information.”

The agency cited external data breaches and email phishing scams as possible sources of compromised personal information.

Following data breaches, items of personal information – such as usernames and passwords – are often made available online through the so-called “dark web”, a part of the internet that can be accessed only through a special browser. People who use the same email or username and password combination for multiple accounts are at increased risk of being hacked, experts say.

CRA’s move comes in the middle of one of the most complicated tax seasons in recent memory, as millions of Canadians prepare to file taxes after receiving COVID – 000 benefits.

Next steps for locked accounts

Affected taxpayers will have their emails removed from their accounts, the agency said, and will not be able to reset passwords using the traditional method on the agency’s website. Those who try will receive an error message.

Affected individuals will receive instructions on how to regain access to their CRA account, the agency said. Those who have signed up for email notifications from CRA My Account will receive emails, while other affected individuals will receive their instructions by mail.

Individuals can also regain access to their CRA account by creating a new user ID and password, or by using a different login method, such as using their banking login, CRA said.

Affected individuals can visit this webpage for more information.

In order to ensure their personal information remains safe, CRA is encouraging all users of its services to do the following:

  • Create a personal identification number (PIN) in CRA My Account to help confirm their identity on future calls with the CRA.
  • Sign up for email notifications.

  • Monitor their accounts for suspicious activities, including unsolicited account changes.
  • Change passwords regularly.
  • Keep account information up to date.
  • Install software to remove malware from computers and devices.
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