In recent months, the RCMP has issued an alert warning of scams targeting the immigrant community in Canada. The perpetrators of the scam are posing as immigration and government officials, contacting immigrants and their families and issuing a series of threats. These can include, a demand for fees or a fine to be paid, deportation, arrest and the threat of separation from children.
CBC has reported on the story of Georgia Perez. Individuals posing as Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) officials aggressively tried to force her to pay $2,500 due to an imagined discrepancy with her immigration paperwork. This scam was highly sophisticated, the caller ID indicated that the call had come from the CIC, with the scammers offering their badge number and additional information to appear legitimate.
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At Prepare for Canada, we see it as our responsibility to keep immigrants informed of recent developments and news within the immigrant community. We encourage you to share this article with your friends and family so that they are aware of the scam and how to avoid it.
How to identify the scam
- The caller will identify themselves as a CIC or related official.
- They will immediately ask for personal details such as name, address and passport number. Never give these out over the phone.
- A discrepancy or omission in your immigration documents will be mentioned.
- Money will be demanded. CIC does not accept payment over the phone via pre paid credit cards or private money transfers. These are the two most common methods requested to transfer funds.
- If refused, the scammer will either escalate the call by increased aggression and threats, or transfer the call to their senior “colleague”.
The scam has been attempted nationwide and targets all ages and does not discriminate between culture or country of origin. The RCMP are encouraging people to report any suspicious calls to the authorities.
How to protect yourself from becoming a victim
- Never give out personal information over the phone unless you are certain of the caller’s origin and intent. This includes name, address, birth date, passport number, social insurance etc…
- Ask for the caller’s name, and which department they are calling from. Take a note of the caller ID.
- If you suspect the call to be a scam, hang up immediately.
- Write down all the details of the call you remember. This will help the police in their investigations.
- Report the call to the authorities.