March is IRCC’s Fraud Prevention Month

Julia Hornstein
Published: March 1, 2023

Every year in March, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) participates in the Canadian government's Fraud Protection Month to shed light on the fraud experienced by newcomers to Canada and how they can protect themselves.

Discover if You Are Eligible for Canadian Immigration

Canada’s immigration process can be complex and daunting. Many prospective immigrants hire a professional for support throughout the process. Unfortunately, there are ill-intentioned individuals and unlicensed consultants who exploit foreigners’ inexperience for their own gain.

Upon successful immigration to Canada, newcomers may also be vulnerable to scammers or dishonest individuals during their job or housing search. There may be advertisements guaranteeing high paying jobs or scholarships to study at Canadian universities or colleges. Newcomers should be aware that many of these offers are fraudulent.

The best way to protect yourself from immigration fraud is to be informed and prepared. Once educated on the warning signs of a scam or fraudulent communication, a newcomer will be able to recognize, avoid and report fraud.

IRCC’s website provides information on some common scams aimed at newcomers to Canada:

  • People posing as Government of Canada staff will contact you and try to scare you or threaten you into paying fees in order to maintain your immigration status
  • Fake emails trying to convince you to invest money or give personal information related to your bank accounts
  • Fake emails or phone calls saying that your computer has been infected with a virus and asking for computer passwords and personal information so they can remove the virus for you
  • Phone calls or text messages saying that you won a prize or contest that you never entered

Advice to help protect yourself from immigration fraud

IRCC works to protect immigrants and Canadians from falling victim to scams. They provide things that prospective immigrants and newcomers to Canada should keep in mind:

  • No one can guarantee you a job or a visa to Canada
  • Only immigration officers in Canada, and at Canadian embassies, high commissions and consulates can decide to issue a visa
  • Processing fees for IRCC services are the same in Canada and around the world. Fees in local currencies are based on official exchange rates
  • IRCC will ask you to pay fees for Canadian government services to the “Receiver General for Canada”, unless stated difference on a Canadian visa office website
  • Be cautious of representatives charging a fee for supporting documents, like a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)
  • IRCC will never collect money or payments by phone

It is important to remember that IRCC will never email or call applicants to confirm basic information provided on application forms or ask for banking or credit card information by email.

An email you received might be a scam if:

  • You did not expect the email
  • It is from a private address or fee Web mail address (such as Yahoo, Hotmail or Gmail) and not from a government of Canada “gc.ca” email account
  • The email uses a standard greeting instead of your real name
  • The sender asks you to update, validate, or confirm your personal information.
  • You are told that you must act quickly to prevent negative consequences such as your application being cancelled
  • The email promotes a special immigration offer that sounds too good to be true

If you choose to hire a representative, use an authorized immigration and citizenship consultant, lawyer or Quebec notary.

How to report immigration fraud

IRCC indicates that you should report any immigration fraud to the Canada Border Services Agency’s (CBSA) Border Watch Toll-Free Line at 1-888-502-9060.

If you believe you are a victim of an Internet, email or telephone scam or fraud while in Canada, you should contact the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

Discover if You Are Eligible for Canadian Immigration

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