Fraud targeting newcomers

When you’re new to Canada, you may not be used to how companies or the government do business. As a resident, you have rights and freedoms protected by Canadian law.

Protect yourself and others by learning how to recognize common scams aimed at newcomers and how to report possible scams.

Types of fraud targeting newcomers

Here are some common scams you might encounter after you’ve arrived in Canada.

People posing as Government of Canada staff

Someone might call or email you pretending to be a government official and try to scare you by saying that you have done something wrong (like not filing proper paperwork). They will often say you need to pay a fee and if you don’t pay you could lose your immigration status or be deported. This is a scam. IRCC will never threaten to deport you over outstanding fees.

Don’t give information such as your unique client identifier (UCI) or file number. If you use caller ID, an agency’s phone number may even appear real, but is not. Some scam artists use technology to fake the number, so this is not always proof that a caller is legitimate.

Report suspicious calls, emails or text messages about your visa application or immigration status.

Phishing emails or text messages

Watch out for emails or text messages from strangers or people pretending to be friends or family that direct you to a website that asks for personal information or passwords related to your banking accounts. Never give out personal information unless you know who you are giving it to, and you know that the website is secure.

If you get this kind of email or text massage, 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.

Report phishing emails or text messages.

Computer virus scams

You may get a phone call or email saying that your computer has been infected with a virus. The caller or sender will offer to remove the virus from your computer. The person will try to get your computer passwords and other private information.

Never give access to your computer to someone you didn’t contact for help. You should only have your computer fixed at a professional shop, or install anti-virus software bought from a trusted store.

Report computer virus scams.

Fake prizes and contests

If you get a phone or text message that says you won something, but you did not enter a contest, it is probably a scam.

If the text tells you to text “stop” or “no” so you don’t get more texts, delete it. Do not reply. Scam artists do this to confirm they have a real phone number. Forward the texts to 7726 (SPAM on most keypads). This will let your phone provider block future texts from those numbers.

Report fake prizes and contests.

Tax scams

You may be approached by someone who promises to reduce your taxes or give you the opportunity to receive benefit and credit payments you’re not eligible for. This could be a tax scheme.

Promoters may claim that newcomers can access benefit and credit payments for periods of time before they arrived in Canada. This is incorrect. Benefits and credit payments from the Government of Canada can only be claimed for periods of time after arriving in Canada and according to certain eligibility requirements.

If you take part in a tax scheme, you could face serious consequences. If you receive payments you’re not eligible for, you

  • must repay the money
  • may also receive
    • penalties
    • court fines
    • jail time

The same consequences apply to those who promote the schemes.

You’re responsible for making sure that your tax return is accurate and that you have documents to support your claims, even if you pay someone to do your taxes for you.

Report suspicious calls, emails, and text messages about taxes.

Protect yourself from fraud

Things to remember

IRCC employees will never

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