Every year in March, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) participates in the Canadian government’s Fraud Protection Month to shed light on the fraud experienced by newcomers to Canada and how they can protect themselves.
Canada’s immigration process can be complex and daunting. Many prospective immigrants hire a professional for support throughout the process. Unfortunately, there are ill-intentioned individuals and unlicensed consultants who exploit foreigners’ inexperience for their own gain.
Upon successful immigration to Canada, newcomers may also be vulnerable to scammers or dishonest individuals during their job or housing search. There may be advertisements guaranteeing high paying jobs or scholarships to study at Canadian universities or colleges. Newcomers should be aware that many of these offers are fraudulent.
The best way to protect yourself from immigration fraud is to be informed and prepared. Once educated on the warning signs of a scam or fraudulent communication, a newcomer will be able to recognize, avoid and report fraud.
IRCC’s website provides information on some common scams aimed at newcomers to Canada:
- People posing as Government of Canada staff will contact you and try to scare you or threaten you into paying fees in order to maintain your immigration status
- Fake emails trying to convince you to invest money or give personal information related to your bank accounts
- Fake emails or phone calls saying that your computer has been infected with a virus and asking for computer passwords and personal information so they can remove the virus for you
- Phone calls or text messages saying that you won a prize or contest that you never entered