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FRAUD ALERT: Scam targets new immigrants

The Government of Canada's Anti-Fraud Centre is now warning new Canadian immigrants about a very serious scam.

According to their site, with this scam, a new immigrant "receives a call on their home phone where they are identified by name. The suspect claims to be with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) (formerly Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)), and advises the victim that they have failed to complete or register certain immigration documents. Consequently, if the consumer does not pay fees immediately, they'll face deportation, loss of passport and citizenship."

This scam is not only timely, but effective as many immigrants are anxious about the immigration process. Many are unsure if they qualify for visas, and are often unfamiliar with how the Canadian government conducts business, let alone often having to face a language barrier.

Lawyers with clients who are new immigrants may hear the following warning signs from their client (outlined on the IRCC site):

  • "The request must be acted on urgently. You are not allowed to discuss it with anyone.
  • IRCC does not contact clients via the telephone for the purpose of collecting fines to avoid deportation.
  • IRCC encourages individuals to pay fees through their bank or through payment options available on the website.
  • IRCC does not request that payments be completed by pre-paid credit cards or through private money transfer services.
  • Contact the IRCC call centre at 1-888-242-2100 and confirm information regarding your profile – don't trust your caller ID display."

For tips to avoid being victimized, and to report or seek advice on dealing with fraud and scam attempts, contact Cynthia Nield at cnield@lians.ca or 902 423 1300, x346.