Avoiding fraud and scams related to Canadian immigration

Canadian fraud and scams

Unfortunately, new Canadian immigrants and potential immigration seekers are particularly exposed to many types of scams/fraud. Here are three things to keep in mind to help current and future Canadian immigrants avoid the penalties of an immigration scam/immigration fraud.

Between November 14 and December 8, 2022, CBC reported on three distinct suspected Canadian immigration frauds.

A Concordia University student who migrated to Canada from Iran this autumn lost over $11,000 to phone fraudsters in Edmonton. Early in December, allegations appeared that a Ghanaian man was the victim of a social network employment scam that also requested money for a health insurance charge. Fortunately, he was cautious and recognised the fraud before sending any money.

Unfortunately, the “dozens of victims” reportedly duped out of “$5000 or more” by a Vancouver immigration expert may not have been so fortunate. The immigration consultant in this scheme, who is now the subject of a class action lawsuit, is accused of misrepresenting herself as a lawyer and defrauding migrants “with promises of a road to permanent residency in Canada through a nonexistent programme.”

The examples above were offered to demonstrate the frequency of Canadian immigration scams throughout the country. As a result, the following highlights three points to keep in mind for recent Canadian immigrants and prospective aspirants wishing to work, study, or come to our nation in order to avoid the painful penalties of falling victim to immigration fraud or an immigration scam.

IRCC and the collection of fines/fees

Scams, including immigration scams, are increasingly being conducted over the phone. In fact, according to a survey done as part of a CityNews Vancouver piece published in January 2022, scam calls in Cantonese or Mandarin have increased by 20% since 2019. Furthermore, according to the President of Vancouver-based research firm Research Co., 60% of cellphone users receive fraudulent calls claiming to be from a government body.

To that end, Canadian immigration seekers should be aware that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will never call or contact them, either online or in person, to collect payments or penalties in order to avoid repercussions such as deportation.

Scammers may “often offer a phoney name and agent number to look official,” according to IRCC, but these sorts of calls are always a fraud.

If someone calls and threatens you with penalties for not paying money or disclosing personal information, do not be hesitant to contact local authorities and/or report the occurrence.

IRCC’s official scam/fraud identification resources

Immigrating to a new nation is a trip that needs newcomers to get reliable information. Untrustworthy information is prevalent in the internet era because anybody can create a website or a blog and pretend to be an expert on any subject they choose. As a result, official government resources are critical in each immigrant’s trip to Canada.

It’s also worth noting that the IRCC provides official government tools (FAQs and tip sheets) to help recent Canadian immigrants and those planning to immigrate to Canada recognise and prevent immigration-related fraud and scams.

Whether someone is looking for information on a specific sort of fraud/scam (telephone/internet scams, document fraud, etc.) or wants to know what to do if they become a victim of a scam/fraud, IRCC has substantial web resources on all of these topics. These tools will assist both recent Canadian immigrants and prospective Canadian immigration aspirants in remaining aware of and protecting oneself from these scenarios.

Verifying the legitimacy of Canadian immigration service providers

When moving to a new nation, immigrants frequently require assistance from others. This aid, depending on the choices chosen by the immigrant/immigration hopeful, may come from an internet forum or an immigration counselor such as an immigration lawyer, advocate or consultant. Nonetheless, just as anybody may portray oneself as an internet subject matter expert via a website, fraudsters can easily appear as trustworthy and reputable immigration advisers.

Official Canadian registers and directories exist to verify the legality of persons who claim to be allowed to represent immigrants/provide immigration assistance, to assist both current Canadian immigrants and potential immigration seekers. All Canadian citizenship and immigration consultants, for example, must be members of the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants. Similarly, Canadian immigration attorneys and notaries must be members of a Canadian provincial or territorial law organisation, and Ontario-based paralegals must join the Law Society of Ontario.

According to IRCC, most provincial and territorial law societies have online tools to verify if a certain individual register as a member in good standing, and an individual’s “standing” is a useful predictor of whether immigrants should engage the services of that immigration lawyer.