August 28, 2018 – Canadian officials are warning of a Facebook immigration scam offering a guaranteed pathway to Canada.
Pages have been created by individuals making false claims they are immigration consultants affiliated to the Canadian government.
The pages, mainly in Arabic, claim to provide a guaranteed pathway to immigration.
Others are using various social media channels to contact potential victims directly.
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An Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada statement revealed people in Turkey and Lebanon “have paid thousands of dollars to ghost consultants whose promises were all lies”.
Many of the pages illegally use official Canadian government logos and images to make themselves look legitimate.
The IRCC issued the following advice:
- IRCC will never use social media to provide resettlement services.
- To resettle in Canada, you must be referred through the United Nations Refugee Agency, a designated referral organization, or a private sponsorship group.
- IRCC will never request documents or payments through social media platforms such as Facebook or WhatsApp.
- IRCC will never telephone, or otherwise contact, individuals to offer resettlement services or immigration to Canada.
- If you choose to hire a representative to help you immigrate to Canada, you should take steps to make sure they are authorized to represent you.
Four Immigration Scams You Should Know How To Spot
1) The Phishing Email
The latest Ontario case is a good example of this, one of the most frequently used fraud attempts.
Scammers send out emails claiming to be from a certain immigration office – in the above case Ontario – and ask for some kind of fee to continue with an application.
These group emails are usually sent to random recipients, meaning members of the public who have never had any need for immigration services can receive the message.
The scammers are hoping to catch one or two candidates for whom the email might seem realistic.
Such emails used to be easy to spot because of their poor grammar or tone that lacked authenticity. But the scammers are catching on to this and making the messages more professional, so beware.
Ontario released the following advice on how to spot a fraudulent email:
- No Certificate of Nomination will ever be emailed to you by the OINP.
- The contact telephone and fax number on the certificate contain a (708) area code. This is not an area code used in Ontario and is not connected to the OINP in any way.
- The false nomination certificate refers to the CIC Visa Office. The federal government has changed the name of the department that deals with Canadian immigration. It is now called Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
- You will never be asked to make a payment to the OINP through a wire transfer, and you will never be asked to pay a ‘Right of Permanent Residence Fee’. Applicants to the OINP pay a one-time upfront administration fee to the program, through the online system, and do not pay for a nomination certificate when and if it is granted.
2) The Phone Call
Much like the email scam, phone fraudsters will call and claim to be from a certain Canadian immigration office. Recent examples have seen scammers attempt to imitate officials from the federal IRCC.
They will dress up the conversation in all kinds of official-sounding language, before eventually getting around to some kind of request for payment.
The IRCC has issued the following advice:
- We will not telephone you to collect money or payments. We may sometimes contact clients by telephone to get more information to continue processing an application, or to ask for more documents.
- We will NEVER ask you for any sort of payment by telephone.
- We also will not ask you to confirm basic personal information that you already gave us on an application form (for example, your date of birth, passport number, etc.).
- People can use telephone scams to steal your money or identity. We take strict measures to keep your information confidential.
- You should be very careful of scams asking for details like your credit card, bank account or passport numbers, and any other types of personal information.
3) The Fake Immigration Website
It does not take much for a dedicated fraudster to copy a website, or create one that looks a lot like the official IRCC portal.
Often, they will also put out phoney internet ads design to drive traffic to their site, promising faster processing for immigration applications, or guaranteeing passage to Canada.
The simple rule here is: do not trust anything that sounds too good to be true. Processing times have nothing to do with anyone except case officers at the IRCC. And no-one is guaranteed a successful application.
The IRCC has the following advice:
- If the website claims to offer special deals to people who want to immigrate, don’t deal with them. Do not pay for offers of guaranteed entry into Canada or faster processing of your application. These claims are false.
- Check the address in your browser’s address bar when you land on a website. It should match the address you typed.
Here are some other ways to protect yourself:
- Never enter private information unless there is a padlock in the browser window or ”https://” at the beginning of the web address to show it is secure.
- If a website seems wrong to you, do a web search to see if anyone has reported any problems with that site.
- Make sure your browser is up-to-date. Browser filters can help detect fake websites.
- Beware of websites advertised in emails from strangers that you did not ask for.
- Don’t give out personal information unless you are sure you know whom you are dealing with.
- If in doubt, contact the website owner by telephone or email before you do anything.
4) Charging for A Job Offer
A bona fide job offer will never come without an interview. In certain cases, scammers will guarantee a job offer and ask for a fee for the service. This is illegal in many Canadian jurisdictions.
Fraudsters know a job offer can be a key element to a successful Canadian immigration application. Often a paid-for job offer will never materialize, or if the authorities find out about it, the candidate’s case could be rejected.
If you are a genuine candidate looking for a job in Canada, you can access our expert recruitment services.
Interested employers: Kindly contact us here to receive further information.
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