Internet, email and telephone scams
Watch out for a known telephone scam targeting international students in Canada. This scam was recently 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. The results of these scams can include:
- 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 are the same amount as fees in Canadian dollars.
- We will 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 will 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 eTA, be careful when you deal with companies that claim to 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. Do not 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 did not 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.
You may get an email that looks like it is 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 that the email is a scam:
- The email is sent from a private address or a free Web mail address (e.g., 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.
- 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.
Note: We do not send visas by email.
We will not telephone you to collect money or payments. We may sometimes contact clients by telephone to get more information to continue processing an application, or to ask for more documents.
We will NEVER ask you for any sort of payment by telephone.
We also will not ask you to confirm basic personal information that you already gave us on an application form (for example, your date of birth, passport number, etc.).
People can use telephone scams to steal your money or identity. We take strict measures to keep your information confidential.
You should be very careful of scams asking for details like your credit card, bank account or passport numbers, and any other types of personal information.
If you get a suspicious call, hang up right away and contact your local police to report it. You can also contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
For general information on scams, to report suspicious calls, and if you have provided personal or financial information by mistake, go to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Web page.
Find more on how to protect yourself from fraud.
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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