Gone Phishing: How to Spot a Fake Immigration Website

More and more fake Canadian visa immigration websites are popping up, dashing the hope and dreams of candidates wanting to start their Canadian visa application process.

These fake websites claim to be legitimate representatives and trick unsuspecting applicants into parting with their hard-earned money by guaranteeing that they will receive their visas or devise ways to “phish” for your personal information and steal their identities.

”phishing” is when fraudulent companies try to get your confidential information through the internet or telephone, posing as official representatives, to retrieve your personal data.

phishing scam fake Canadian immigration website | fake or real

Not all companies who ask for your personal information are scammers however It is, unfortunately, becoming more and more difficult to spot the difference between official and fraudulent websites and easier to be fooled. Scam artists are constantly devising new ways and tactics to swindle innocent people.

There are various things to look out for when deciding on an online immigration service to help you with your Canadian visa application. Have a look at these top 5 tips to spot fake or fraudulent websites and prevent getting hooked by these imposters.

How to Spot a Fake Immigration Website

fraud alert on laptop | fake or real

1. Canadian Visas Guaranteed!

If a website says that they can guarantee that they can get you a visa, it's usually an indication that they may be a fraudulent website. A government-regulated and trusted immigration service will never promise that your visa will be approved, nor are they authorised to do so. A good immigration company will ensure that all of your documents are completed correctly, all supporting documents are submitted and will do their utmost to give you the best possible chance of success with regards to your Canadian visa application process. In fact, a great immigration company would not try to persuade a client to use their services even though they have a low chance of success. They would more than likely advise against it and leave it up to you to choose if you would like to take the next step.

cyber security computer screen padlock and chains | fake or real

2. Lock it Down!

A padlock in a URL is a sure sign that the website you are visiting is more than likely trustworthy. Legitimate companies use encryption or scrambling to help protect their client during the payment process. The padlock indicates that it is secure and if you click on the lock symbol you will be able to verify that the website has a security certificate.

padlock-canadian-visa-secure-url | scam or real

Remember, looks can be deceiving, so even if the site looks well designed and official, it could easily be a fake website. It’s best to steer clear of these sites in general as you may be required to enter sensitive information via the website, that you wouldn’t want to end up in the wrong hands. This information, if retrieved, could be used in cases of identity theft, where scam artists will be able to use your details to create a fake identity and commit fraud.

3. Check the Fineprint

Legitimate Immigration companies that offer services to help applicants with their Canadian visa applications will always list the following:

  • Contactable information;

You should always be able to get in contact with your Canadian immigration consultants. If you are unable to get in touch with them telephonically, via email or live chat, guess what, you may be dealing with fraudsters.

canadian visa immigration contact details | scam or real

  • Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions; and

Reputable companies will always have a level of transparency. You should be made aware of company policies regarding refunds, payments and what exactly you are paying for as well as be assured that your personal details will remain private and confidential.

RCICs Canadian Visa Immigration Consultants | scam or real

  • Representative Credentials.

Paid immigration representatives are required to be authorized or certified. The type of certification depends on the type of visa or immigration company you are dealing with.

  • Citizenship or immigration consultants must be a member of, and in good standing with, the ICCRC (Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council. You will easily be able to check their credentials by clicking on the “Find a Professional” link.

RCIC FIND A PROFESSIONAL | fraud immigration agency

and then entering the company name, name of the RCIC and/or registration number, which should be stated on the website, here:

ICCRC find a professional | fraud immigration agency

If they are registered but are not in good standing, you will be able to see what the infringement is.

  • Lawyers or notaries are required to be members of a Canadian provincial or territorial law society of the Chambre des notaires du Québec; and
  • Paralegals in Ontario must belong to the Law Society of Upper Canada.

email scam hand stealing identity and money credit card

4. Receiving an Email Advertising the Website

Have you received a random advertisement by email from a company that you’ve never heard of and did not ask for? Beware! These emails are often riddled with spelling mistakes, always contain a link to a website (that you should not click on) and often contain graphics (ie. logos or text) with poor resolution. These websites are usually set up so quickly and the lack of quality will clearly show once you take a closer look. But don’t be tempted to do so. In fact, don’t even open the email as it may contain a virus. Simply delete and report it.

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5. The Government Website is Bilingual

If you decide to take on the Canadian visa application process alone be sure that you are on the right website. Canada has two official languages and therefore offer the option of choosing between either language before entering the website. Most websites are set up rapidly and little care or time will be taken to engineer a website that has this functionality.

Please also note that a government website will never ask you to pay for application forms.

How Do I Report a Visa Violation?

The best way to report an incident of immigration fraud is to contact the CAFC (Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre). You can either contact them telephonically or through their online tool known as the CAFC Fraud Reporting System.

You will be required to log in using a GC Key(user ID/Password) or using a Sign-In Partners login (banking credentials). This applies to those who bank with the following Sign-In Partners: BMO Financial Group, CHOICE REWARDS MasterCard , Tangerine, Scotiabank and TD Bank Group.

Why Use a Paid Immigration Consultant?

Navigating the Canadian immigration system can be a complex process and making sure that you have the best possible representation to advise and guide you through the visa application process is extremely important. It may seem that companies who offer free eligibility services have your best interests at heart but by using a free service there's just no telling what level of care was taken with your eligibility assessment and it is yet another factor that should send up a red flag that a company may be trying to use tactics to rope you into using their services.

At Canadianvisa.org, we believe in providing only the highest quality of comprehensive eligibility assessments that are tailored to the specific needs of our clients. We are individuals after all and a true and fair assessment cannot be churned out through a free assessment tool or app.

Can you apply directly to the Canadian Government? Absolutely. But with over 70 different visas to choose from, how can you be sure that you’ve made the right choice for you and your loved ones?

Our accredited RCICs (Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants) are here to help give you the best possible chance of success and make the entire process effortless and stress-free.

All you have to do is complete our eligibility form and we’ll take care of the rest. It's just that simple.