The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will lock over 800,000 taxpayers out of online accounts starting Saturday, March 13th.
The move comes after an investigation found that unauthorized third parties had obtained some usernames and passwords. It’s worth noting that the CRA took similar action in February, locking over 100,000 accounts.
“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,” the agency said in a news release.
The CRA also issued a reminder that the accounts locked in February were a preventative measure. The usernames and passwords weren’t compromised by a breach of the agency’s systems.
To prevent these kinds of issues from happening, the CRA encouraged Canadians to practice “good cyber hygiene.” For example, that could include creating a PIN in the CRA My Account to help confirm their identity, signing up for email notifications, monitoring their account regularly for suspicious activities and using anti-virus and anti-malware software on their devices.
“Locking accounts in this manner is part of normal CRA operations. However, as tax season has begun, and with the recent media coverage of the email notifications some Canadians received a few weeks ago, we wish to make sure Canadians are properly informed on this matter,” the CRA explained in the release.
“It should be noted that these preventative measures are not isolated incidences and may become more frequent to safeguard taxpayers’ information.”
The CRA shared details about unlocking accounts
On top of that, the CRA detailed the next steps for those impacted by the account lockdowns. Impacted taxpayers will receive error messages if they attempt to log into their CRA account with a revoked user ID and password. Further, the CRA will email impacted users who signed up for CRA My Account email notifications with instructions on how to unlock their account. Those without email notifications will receive those instructions by mail.
The agency says users can regain access to their CRA account by heading to the CRA login page and creating a new CRA user ID and password. Alternatively, some impacted users could use an alternate sign-in method, such as logging in with banking information.
Additionally, the CRA asks that any users who are unsuccessful in accessing their online accounts try again after March 22nd, 2021. If they still cannot access their account, they should call the CRA after that date.
The CRA says Canadians can get more information about the locked accounts on its website.