Internet, email and telephone immigration scams
Watch out for a known telephone scam targeting international students in Canada. This scam was reported in Ottawa and London but other cities may be affected too.
We will never ask you for any sort of payment by telephone.
How to protect yourself
Don’t be the victim of a scam. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. These scams can result in
- identity theft
- theft from your bank account or credit card and
- computer viruses
- No one can guarantee you a job or a visa to Canada.
- Only immigration officers in Canada, at Canadian embassies, high commissions and consulates can decide to issue a visa.
- Processing fees are the same for all of our services in Canada and around the world.
- Fees in local currencies are based on official exchange rates.
- They’re the same amount as fees in Canadian dollars.
- We’ll ask you to pay fees for Canadian government services to the “Receiver General for Canada,” unless we state something different on a visa office website.
- Our employees will never
- ask you to deposit money into a personal bank account
- ask you to transfer money through private money transfer service
- threaten you
- offer special deals to people who want to immigrate or
- use free email services, such as Hotmail, Gmail or Yahoo Mail to contact you
- You’ll find free application forms and guides for all our services on our website.
- Be careful if the salary of a job you are applying for seems too high to be real.
Fake websites and other Internet scams
If you need to apply for an electronic travel authorization (eTA), be careful when you deal with companies that claim offer help to get one. These companies are not working with the Government of Canada. Many have websites that charge a fee for information and submitting eTA applications.
This Government of Canada website is the official place to apply for an eTA.
It’s easy for criminals to copy a real website or build one that looks professional. Websites may claim to be official Government of Canada sites or their partners. Others may claim to offer special immigration deals or guaranteed high-paying jobs. They do this to trick people into paying them money.
Some of these sites may try to get you to give them your private information. This could be used to steal your identity.
Here are some things to watch for:
- If the website claims to offer special deals to people who want to immigrate, don’t deal with them. Don’t pay for offers of guaranteed entry into Canada or faster processing of your application. These claims are false.
- Check the address in your browser’s address bar when you land on a website. It should match the address you typed.
Here are some other ways to protect yourself:
Never enter private information unless there is a padlock in the browser window or “https://” at the beginning of the web address to show it is secure.
- If a website seems wrong to you, do a web search to see if anyone has reported any problems with that site.
- Make sure your browser is up-to-date. Browser filters can help detect fake websites.
- Beware of websites advertised in emails from strangers that you didn’t ask for.
- Don’t give out personal information unless you are sure you know whom you are dealing with.
- If in doubt, contact the website owner by telephone or email before you do anything.
- Find out more about who can legally represent you if you choose to hire a representative.
We hired the research firm, Advanis, to run a client experience survey between February 1, 2023 and February 28, 2023. If we made a decision on your application in 2022, you may get an email invite.
You may get an email that looks like it’s from a real company or the Government of Canada. It may ask you for private information, such as your date of birth, passwords or credit card details. Sometimes the email will tell you to visit a fake website.
Some people get emails that look like they are from IRCC. They offer special immigration deals if you give them personal information. We will never send you an email asking for your private information.
If you get this kind of email, don’t click on any links or give any information about yourself. If you have any doubts about where the email came from, make sure to check the identity of the sender.
These things may mean an email is a scam:
- The email is sent from a private address or a free Web mail address (for example, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail or Gmail) and not from the Government of Canada “gc.ca” or “Canada.ca” email account.
- The email uses a standard greeting such as “Dear customer” instead of your real name. (Note: We address some automated emails as “Dear client.” If you get an email like this, check and make sure it’s from a Government of Canada email account.)
- The sender asks for personal information, such as your date of birth, password, credit card or bank details.
- You didn’t expect the email.
- The message is an image instead of text.
We do not send visas by email.
People can use telephone scams to steal your money or identity, which is why we take strict measures to keep your information confidential. Be very careful of scams asking for details like your credit card number, bank account number or any other payment information.
IRCC may contact you by telephone to ask for more information to continue processing an application, or to follow up on outstanding fees and loans. IRCC agents will always identify themselves.
Top questions about fraud and scams
- What happens if I owe IRCC money? Will you call to ask for unpaid fees?
- Will you ask me for personal information over the phone?
- Do you accept prepaid credit cards, Western Union or Money Gram to pay my fees?
- If I have not paid fees, will you have me arrested or deported?
- I received threats from someone who says they are from the immigration department. Is it a scam?
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