Canadian immigration scams are on the rise: Here’s how to avoid it

Immigration fraud is on the rise as Canada continues to welcome immigrants. A Ghanaian guy almost fell for a social media employment scam in December 2022 where the con artists demanded money for a health insurance cost. In a similar incident, a student from Iran lost close to $11,000 as a result of phone scammers. Here are some tips on how to protect yourself against immigration fraud or scams.

IRCC and the collection of fines/fees

Due to the increase in phone scammers, it is crucial to be aware that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) never calls or personally contacts someone to collect fees or fines. Scammers “frequently give a phony name and agency number to appear official,” according to the IRCC, but it is strongly advised that these calls are always a hoax.

IRCC’s official scam/fraud identification resources

In order to assist immigrants and those seeking to move to Canada in recognizing and avoiding fraud and scams related to immigration, IRCC also provides official government information (FAQs and tip sheets).
According to a CIC study, the IRCC offers a wealth of online resources to help customers learn more about a specific fraud or scam or understand what to do if they become a victim of one.

Verifying the legitimacy of Canadian immigration service providers

Immigrants frequently require assistance from others when moving to a new nation, particularly from immigration lawyers, advocates, or consultants.
You can use the official Canadian registries and directories to check the credibility of those who claim to be authorized to represent immigrants or offer immigration assistance in order to be sure that you do not become a victim of scams.

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For instance, the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants requires all immigration and citizenship consultants to be members. Paralegals working in Ontario must join the Law Society of Ontario, just like Canadian immigration attorneys and notaries must be registered with a Canadian provincial or territorial law society.

The majority of provincial and territorial law societies offer online tools to check whether a specific member is registered as a member in good standing, according to the IRCC, and a person’s “standing” is a valuable predictor of whether immigrants should employ that immigration lawyer’s services.

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