Fraudulent immigration agents take advantage of unsuspecting foreigners looking to immigrate to Canada by using websites, emails, TV advertisements, the radio, magazines and newspapers.
Online is the easiest way for scammers to be successful, because putting together a seemingly professional and aesthetically pleasing website is easy and affordable. The focus of these websites is on the amazing opportunities that come from moving to Canada, and they offer visas for a fee much higher than the fee charged by the Canadian Government.
A notable feature of fraudulent immigration websites is the use of free email services, such as Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail. They promise guaranteed visas, collect money then the website disappears. All online agencies should be verified by an authorized Canadian Government listing before any money is exchanged.
Another fast and easy way to trick willing would-be immigrants into handing over money is through the phone – an official government phone number can be spoofed technologically and used to call potential immigrants as well as those who have already submitted applications. The scammers pretend to be immigration officials, frequently requesting immediate payment in order to avoid application refusal.
When navigating the Canadian immigration process, it is essential to always keep some things in mind. Only officers at Canadian embassies, high commissions and consulates can decide to issue a visa. Fees are based in local currency on official exchange rights, and they are the same around the world. When applying for a visa, fees for government services are usually paid to the “Receiver General for Canada.” Canadian visa offices will never ask you to deposit money into a personal bank account, ask you to transfer money through a certain private money transfer service or use free email services (such as those listed above).
When using the Internet, be aware that you should only enter personal information if the website has a padlock in the browser window, or if the web address has https:// at the beginning of it. In emails, pay attention to the greeting – is it standard, such as “Dear customer” or does it use your name?
Remember: Citizenship and Immigration Canada does not send visas by email, personal details should never be given over the phone, extra fees are never charged by the immigration department and website URLs should be checked for warnings or complaints.
FWCanada is a Montreal-based immigration law firm that provides professional legal services on Canadian immigration. For more tips and updates on Canadian immigration follow FWCanada on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.