Be aware of a re-emerging scam targeting international students

Ottawa, April 24, 2018 – International students in Canadian cities including Ottawa and London have recently reported receiving phone calls from individuals claiming to be employees of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The caller tells the student that to avoid deportation, they must send prepaid credit and gift cards, money wires or e-transfers as payment to avoid arrest or deportation.

It appears that the calls are coming from local phone numbers, but it is believed that the calls are coming from outside Canada. IRCC wants international students to know that these phone calls are a scam. It is important not to respond to the caller or transfer any money to them.

In these calls, the caller identifies themselves as an IRCC officer and tells the student that they are subject to an immigration investigation, or that they have been charged with a crime in their home country. The student is told to provide personal/financial information or send payment, or face deportation if they do not.

While this scam has emerged most recently in Ottawa and London, international students across Canada should be aware of these types of phone calls.

The Government of Canada is committed to protecting immigrants and Canadians alike from this type of fraud. IRCC wants to remind everyone that if someone posing as an immigration official threatens to arrest or deport you, suspend your account if you don’t pay money or give your personal information, or tells you that your visa or immigration status is in jeopardy, it is a scam.

IRCC will never contact you in person, online, or by telephone to collect fees or fines and say it’s to avoid deportation or face other consequences.

For more information on how to protect yourself against immigration scams, visit our website. You can also find a number of helpful questions and answers on how to identify fraud, and how to report it, in our Help Centre.

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