2022 was a record year for immigration in Canada, and 2023 is expected to break more records. While immigration comes with many benefits, it also opens the door for scammers to take advantage of those seeking entry into Canada. Navigating the Canadian immigration system can be difficult for many reasons, such as language barriers or difficulty understanding what the appropriate next steps are to take in the application process. Further, it is becoming more and more difficult to discern whether an opportunity is legitimate or a scam. Scammers are becoming even more undetectable and are targeting immigrants to Canada in various employment and immigration scams. 

Scams targeting immigrants and Canadians alike

While immigrants are subject to immigration-specific scams, this generally vulnerable population is also being targeted by scams that Canadians are falling susceptible to once they are in the country.

Scams targeting all Canadians 

Immigrants may fall victim to common scams unrelated to the immigration realm because of their lack of familiarity with Canada, the prevalence of coercive actions by government authorities in their country of origin or threats of criminal charges and deportation. An example of a common scam is one in which a scammer impersonates a Canadian Revenue Agency official either over the telephone or by way of email or text message. 

Recently, an international student at Concordia University in Montreal fell victim to a phone scam and lost $11,000. In response, the student association at Concordia University stated that they would warn students about the potential for scammers to take advantage of them. However, some people have called on universities to be more proactive and take steps early on to educate students about the potential warning signs of common scams. 

Immigration-related scams

In recent years, there have been various scams specifically targeting immigrants which have been reported across the country. These scams tend to target individuals who are geographically outside of Canada and want to immigrate to Canada. 

In December 2022, a man from Ghana almost fell for an employment scam that he came across on social media while still in Ghana. The man stated that he completed various paperwork in order to gain employment as an outreach minister at a church in Newfoundland and Labrador. However, after finishing his application, he was asked for $1,000 dollars as a “Canadian health ministry insurance fee.” When he investigated this request further, he discovered that the church did not exist, nor did the law firm that asked for the fee. 

Recently, an immigration consultant has been accused of swindling dozens of recent immigrants out of amounts greater than $5,000 by misrepresenting herself as a lawyer and promising clients that she would provide them with an open work permit and a route to obtaining permanent residency

Tips on Scam Awareness

Scams operate by threatening the targeted individual and putting them in an uncomfortable position where they feel obligated to pay the scammer to prevent the alleged threat from occurring. Often, scams suggest that if an individual does not provide them with money, a significant consequence will ensue, such as a monetary penalty, jail time, or loss of status in Canada. 

By becoming familiar with the means of communication which the Government of Canada and Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada contacts people can potentially help immigrants from falling victim to a scam that is attempting to impersonate a government official. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has published instructions for immigrants that explain how Canadian immigration officials behave to help educate those coming to Canada and increase their awareness when they believe they may be communicating with authority figures. Officers from Immigration, Refugees and citizenship will never threaten to arrest, deport, assault or kidnap anyone, nor will they attempt to collect fees or fines in order to prevent such an action. 

Resources for scam awareness provided by the Government of Canada

The Canadian Government advises that some scammers have even used false agent names and numbers in order to appear legitimate. However, those who believe they may be the target of a scam can utilize various resources and security measures to ensure that their communications are with a legitimate government official. 

An individual can request the name and number of the immigration agent from the person they are speaking with and they can subsequently contact the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada Support Centre services to confirm the agent’s identity before providing the requested information. 

There are additional scam awareness resources which the Canadian Government has provided to help promote scam awareness among all newcomers. 

Contact Garson Immigration Law for Immigration Assistance 

Garson Immigration Law is a firm exclusively dedicated to immigration law in Canada and the United States of America. We guide clients through the immigration process and provide tailored advice each step of the way. The immigration lawyers at Garson Immigration Law work to develop practical solutions for each client’s individual immigration needs. We work hard to ensure that each client is positioned for success throughout the application process. If you have any questions about your immigration application, contact us online or call us at 416-321-2860 to learn how we can assist you.

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