Beware This Phone Scam Targeting New Immigrants
As if new immigrants to Canada didn’t have enough problems, a new immigration scam is making the rounds fooling a lot of newcomers into giving up their money.
The scam has received attention in Calgary but is potentially affecting any new immigrants, particularly of East Indian descent.
Posing as Government Officials
Various reports from the Calgary area have begun to emerge with some disturbing similarities. Immigrants, usually from India are receiving phone calls from individuals claiming to be employed by ‘The Consulate General of India’ or another organization called ‘Canadian Immigration Service’. The caller then goes on to say that the person picking up the phone actually owes a substantial amount of money.
In one instance, a Calgary man was asked to hand over $1000.00 in ‘unpaid fees’. The Calgary Police Service’s Economic Crimes Unit has gone on record to say that this is not the first time they’ve heard of this scam and it’s not the first of its kind. In 2015 alone up to 14 incidents have taken place and that’s only the recorded ones!
“It’s definitely something that happens consistently over the phone.” said Staff Sgt. Kristie Verheul of the CPS Economic Crimes Unit.
What’s more, the caller’s are beginning to get more technical, in this scam and in others. In some cases, emails and entire websites have gone up claiming to be a Canadian immigration agency with multiple step procedures for surrendering ‘owed funds’.
Difficult to Track
Despite charges being laid, the location from which many of the calls have been made is difficult to find. Some of the numbers come from inside Canada, others from the United States and some from other countries. The problem is that they all seem to look like Canadian numbers to the person picking up the phone.
If this wasn’t confusing enough for people new to the company, some reports indicate people on the verge of immigrating are being targeted as well. According to the Better Business Bureau, fraudulent fees are being charged to prospective immigrants for jobs that don’t exist in Canada or brokering employment.
Certain legal documents, paperwork and red tape is being offered to be taken care of by what seem to be clerical experts or consultants despite there being no need. These calls can come from anywhere but seemed to be planned with specific ethnicities being targeted.
Always Play It Safe
The (real) Consulate General of India in Vancouver has spoken to press about never calling residents or immigrants to pay money because of debts or fees. Official agencies rarely function that way, Canadian or otherwise.
The Better Business Bureau advocates never wiring money. Once the money is sent, there are no ways to retrieve it and it’s as good as mailing an envelope full of cash.
New immigrants to Canada should always call the government itself to confirm any sort of money charged to them. Immigration scams like this are popping up more and more and the best defense is often a skeptical, careful attitude.
Why Seeking Legal Help to Immigrate is Important
The immigration application process can be very difficult. These days, the rules and regulations make it increasingly difficult to qualify for a Canadian visa. As a result, some fraudsters take advantage of unsuspecting immigrants. Luckily for you, we at Visaplace can help you. We have literally helped thousands and thousands of people successfully immigrate to Canada, so they can visit, work, study or live, and we certainly can help you too!
About Michael Niren
Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more
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