Members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Greater Toronto Area Financial Crime Unit would like to warn the public of an ongoing scam by imposters claiming to be Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) employees. [Formerly known as Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)].
The following is a realistic portrayal of an IRCC scam that has been seen by RCMP investigators. This approach is one of many used by fraudsters. Please note that not every call is as dark and sinister as this one.
Imagine a friend or relative has recently moved to Canada to seek refuge from a war torn country. The victim’s name is “Taunya” she is a widow, and lives with her 5 year old daughter in Ottawa, Ontario. Taunya works full time to support herself and her daughter. She also studies at a local community college. Just as she is about to climb into bed after working all night at her job, the phone rings…a call from the 647 (GTA) area code:
IRCC Imposter: Hello this is Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada calling, I have bad news for you.
Taunya: Sorry? Who is this?
IRCC Imposter: This is Roger_______ (an Anglophone surname, which is confusing as it is contrasted by a strong ethnic accent) from Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada. Your status has changed and you must pay additional fees.
Taunya: I don’t understand.
IRCC Imposter: Please confirm your full name and address as well as those who live with you?
Taunya: I don’t understand. I live alone with my 5 year old daughter. I live at 105 Main Street.
IRCC Imposter: Please provide your passport number?
IRCC Imposter: What do you do for a living?
Taunya: I work full time and study part time.
IRCC Imposter: You changed your status without advising Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada and as a result you must pay additional fees. You owe $12,000.
Taunya: I don’t know how that could have happened, I can’t afford that.
IRCC Imposter: (irritated by the amount of time that he has spent to get his point across, is now yelling into the phone) YOU WILL BE ARRESTED BY THE POLICE TODAY AND DEPORTED AND SEPARATED FROM YOUR CHILD, DO YOU WANT THAT TO HAPPEN?
Taunya: Of course not! No!
IRCC Imposter: Good, then you will go to the nearest Western Union or MoneyGram and you will follow my directions.
Taunya: Does not make any sense! I am going to record this and call the police.
IRCC Imposter: (yelling) DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR DAUGHTER IS NOW?
Taunya: Pardon me? Is that a threat?
IRCC Imposter: No, but your daughter will be kidnapped today (hangs up).
Although Taunya was extremely disturbed by the phone call, she saw through the imposter’s ruse. And like many other fraudsters, the moment he was exposed, he ran. Fortunately, Taunya saw this for what it was…a scam. Unfortunately many new hard working Canadians are fooled and have lost money.
What makes this worse is that many victims never report these incidents to the police. If you, a friend or family member has either received a call from a fraudster, or has lost money through this type of call, please report it. Lastly, if you are reading this, please do your part in sharing this message with everyone and help us to educate new Canadians against this type of fraud.
This is a fraud similar to the CRA scam. Both extort money from their victims through a number of different threats. Both of these frauds are being perpetrated coast to coast, and have impacted both male and female victims from many different age groups and cultural backgrounds.
When you receive a suspect phone call from someone purporting to be the IRCC, CRA or other government agency please take the following steps:
1) If you have call display on your phone, note the number where the call came from.
3) Look up the “real” number for the agency in question
4) Call the Agency to confirm or refute your situation
5) Report the fraudulent call.
The R.C.M.P. recommend reporting any fraud to local police, and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. You can report it by phone at: 1-888-495-8501. or using their tool available through their website.