Individuals and families planning for Canada Immigration can be misled and fooled by ghost consultants’ fraudulent practices. The only way to lawfully migrate to Canada through a consultant is by ensuring that the consultant offers the services of an authorized representative – a licensed RCIC agent, immigration lawyer, or notary. If the consultancy does not meet this requirement, the immigration authority could ban you from applying for a visa again for the next five years. So, immigration aspirants need to beware of fraudulent tactics used by fake consultants.
Types of Immigration Fraud
People pretending to be Canadian government staff
People may pose as government officials on the phone and try to scare you by saying that you have made an error in your application, such as not filing the correct paperwork. You owe a fee to the government that must be paid immediately. Otherwise, you could be deported or lose your immigration status. It is important to remember that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) never:
- Collects fees or fines by contacting you via phone.
- Threaten to deport or arrest you, destroy your property or home, harm you or your family, or be aggressive.
- Request for personal details via phone (except to verify information already provided).
- Request financial information via phone.
- Rush you to make the payment immediately.
- Ask for fee payment through prepaid credit cards, Money Gram, gift cards, Western Union, etc.
- Send police personnel to arrest you for not paying the fees.
You could even receive a fake call regarding taxes. Even if the caller ID matches the real agency’s name, it can be a fake call.
If you receive an email that asks for personal information or bank account details for investing money or leads you to a website that asks for such information, deletes it. A legitimate investor would not send a mass email to strangers.
Fake Computer Virus
If you receive an email or phone call from an unknown sender/caller saying that your computer has a virus and the sender offers to remove this virus, do not provide them with your computer passwords and private information.
If you receive a phone call or text message saying that you have won something, but you have not entered any contest, it is a scam. The text message may lead you to a form that asks for personal details, or it may say that you must reply with ‘STOP’ or ‘NO’ to stop receiving such messages. It is a trick used by criminals to check if your phone number is real. Do not reply or provide any information. You can block future texts from these numbers by contacting your phone provider.
Email, Internet, Telephone Scams
Scams may result in identity theft, theft from a credit card or bank account, computer viruses, and fraud. To avoid being a target of these scams, immigrants must keep some facts in mind:
- No recruiter or visa consultant can guarantee a job offer or visa approval. Be suspicious of job offers that promise an unreasonably high salary.
- Only immigration officers in Canada or Canadian embassies, consulates, and high commissions can issue visas
- The application processing fees are consistent across the world and in Canada and are generally payable to the “Receiver General for Canada.”
- Employees of the Canadian immigration department will never ask applicants to deposit money in a personal bank account or transfer through a private service. They will never threaten applicants for money, offer special deals, or use free email services like Yahoo, Gmail, or Hotmail.
- Application forms and guides are available for free on the immigration department’s website.
Fake Websites and Internet Scams
Websites that claim to be official Canadian government portals or a partner website can trick people into paying money and revealing private information.
- These websites may make special offers, guarantee a visa, or promise faster application processing.
- If the URL on the website’s landing page does not match your typed address, it is probably a fake website.
- Check if others have reported issues with the website.
- Frequently update your browser to detect such websites.
- Do not trust websites advertised in unknown emails.
- Contact the owner of the website to check authenticity.
- Do not share personal information if you have any doubts.
- If you hire a representative, make sure that they can legally represent you.
Sometimes, immigration aspirants receive emails from fake businesses or people pretending to be the Canadian government or IRCC. These emails direct you towards a phony website, offer special deals, and may ask for your details (including password, date of birth, credit card details). Do not click on such links, and never share personal information. Some ways to spot an email scam:
- If the email received from a private or free email address like Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, etc
- If the email does not mention your name but starts with ‘Dear Customer.’
- If the email requests personal information
- If the email was unexpected
- If the message is not a text, but an image
The Canadian government never collects payments or money through phone calls. Such scams can be used to steal your money or identity. Do not provide information related to the bank account or credit card details via phone.
Suppose you or your immigration consultant/representative send false documents or information to IRCC. In that case, it is considered fraud and termed as ‘misrepresentation.’ It may involve fake or altered documents like passports, visas, academic or professional papers, identity certificates, police certificates, etc. Lying in the application or during an interview with an immigration officer is also considered fraud. These activities will result in application refusal. IRCC may even ban you from coming to Canada for five years or more, state a permanent record of fraud, take away PR or citizenship status, press criminal charges, or remove such persons from Canada.
Some people marry a Canadian citizen or permanent resident only to enter Canada and may even offer money for being sponsored. It is a crime. Sponsoring a partner/spouse for permanent residence means that you must financially support them for three years even if the relationship/marriage fails. You will also have to repay any social assistance used by the spouse. Immigration officers can detect false marriages and marriages of convenience through document checks, interviews, and home visits. It will permanently remain on the immigrant’s record and result in deportation and a ban on entering Canada for five years. It will also lead to legal action against the sponsor.
How to Report Fraud
Suppose you have been the victim of an immigration scam through email, internet, telephone, etc., or know anyone who these scams have targeted. In that case, you can contact your local police station (if you live outside Canada) or contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (if you are residing in Canada). You can also contact the Canada Border Services Agency. If you receive a suspicious telephone call about immigration, contact the IRCC Call Centre to check if the call was authentic. If not, report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. If you lose money through a scam, contact your local police station.
Visa Experts is one of the few immigration consultancies in India that guarantees authorized representation through a licensed RCIC agent who is a member of ICCRC – the regulatory body for Canada Immigration consultants. To seek the legitimate guidance of experienced consultants and successfully pursue lawful immigration to Canada, call 8595338595.