Canadian immigration scams are nothing new, and now, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, fraudsters are taking every opportunity that they can get their hands on to take advantage of unsuspecting victims. With so many immigration agencies to choose from, it’s difficult to determine which ones are real or fake, especially if you don’t know what to look for.
In this article, we’ll be looking at some of the new ways that scam artists are trying to trick people in any way that they can and how you can spot the difference between a scam and a real Canadian immigration agency.
Top 5 COVID-19 Scams to Look Out For
The Canadian government has recently reported a surge in COVID-19 and immigration scams. Fraudsters are attempting to access personal information in order to get access to bank accounts in the most extraordinary ways. Below are some of the top ways that scam artists are using the Coronavirus pandemic to get people to part with their hard-earned money and/or personal details:
1. Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) - text messages or emails with links to “claim your COVID-19 benefit” are on the rise. We would suggest visiting the official Canadian government website rather than clicking on a link sent to you from an unfamiliar source, especially if you have no recollection of applying or making inquiries.
2. Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) recorded calls - claiming EI benefits would not be paid or that money is owed. You will always get a letter from the CRA first and will never be threatened with automated messages.
3. Businesses asking for donations or offering testing/treatment - this often involves text messages, emails, and even social media posts with links to make donations or exchanging personal information or credit card details for free Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), as well as posing as Canadian Red Cross or World Health Organisation (WHO), offering masks if they would provide their personal details or trying to solicit donations. Both have official pages designated for those who wish to make donations and do not send out emails or text messages to ask for donations. Another scam involved fraudulent businesses trying to convince people that they have been infected with the coronavirus, offering medication or treatment if they sent their personal and credit card details.
4. Investment Scams - offering new investment opportunities in COVID-19 related stocks. If you are approached by an investment opportunity out of the blue, especially if you have not made any inquiries about potential investment opportunities, be careful. It may be a scam.
5. Coronavirus World Maps/COVID-19 Tracker Apps - be very careful of opening any unfamiliar coronavirus map as there are some that may be embedded with malware to obtain your passwords. An app called “COVIDLock” claiming to be a COVID tracker has been reported to lock you out of your phone in order to force you to share your password.
How to Tell if Your Immigration Agency is a Fake or Real
1. We’ll Give You a Job in Canada if You Pay for it
An immigration agency is only permitted to provide paid services for immigration and cannot guarantee a job in Canada in exchange for money. In actual fact, neither can a recruitment company. Some immigration companies may be partnered with a recruitment company but neither will promise you a job if you pay for it. This is simply illegal and you are probably communicating with a scam artist, not a real immigration consultancy.
2. Visa or Your Money Back. Guaranteed
No immigration company can ever guarantee that they can give you a visa, no matter what. Visas are strictly issued by the Canadian government, who will decide whether or not your visa application has been approved or not. Do not trust any agency that claims to have any connections within the Government to ensure that your visa is approved or claims to be able to give you a visa or your money back. It's more than likely that you may be dealing with a fake rather than a real Canadian immigration agency.
3. No Registration Number - No Go!
At the end of the day, you should always verify the identity and registration of your Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) and the immigration agency that they work for. Only RCICs or immigration lawyers are permitted to provide paid immigration services. If they are not, we’re sad to say that you may be a victim of immigration fraud. Before agreeing to anything or making a single payment, always check that your RCIC is accredited by the ICCRC here by entering their name or registration number on their online public register.
If you fear that you may be a victim of Canadian immigration fraud you can report it to the Canada Anti-Fraud Centre.
Don’t Be a Victim of Canadian Immigration Fraud
Navigating the Canadian immigration system can be a bit tedious, with a copious amount of forms and documents to complete and strict submission dates, we wouldn’t blame you if you felt apathetic about getting started on your application. But that's what we’re here for. At Canadian Visa, we take the stress and hassle out of planning to relocate abroad. Our accredited RCICs (Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants) are ready to evaluate your eligibility, review all documentation and submit all documentation on your behalf. Using an RCIC not only gives you the best possible chance of receiving an ITA but will make the entire process simple and stress-free.
We handle the paperwork while you take it easy. Simply, complete our online form and we’ll take care of the rest. It's just that simple.