People applying for visas and moving to Canada are being warned to be careful not to become the victim of scammers who are out to steal identities, commit fraud and spread computer viruses. ‘If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. No one can guarantee you a job or a visa to Canada. Only authorised officers at Canadian embassies, high commissions and consulates can decide whether or not to issue a visa,’ said a Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) spokesman.
A lot of scammers focus on obtaining fees for visas. The spokesman pointed out that processing fees are the same at all Canadian visa offices around the world. Fees in local currency are based on official exchange rates and correspond to the amount in Canadian dollars. Also fees for Canadian government services are usually paid to the “Receiver General of Canada,” unless the visa office website specifies something different.
Canadian visa offices will never ask someone to deposit money into an individual’s personal bank account, ask to transfer money through a specific private money transfer company or use free e-mail services such as Hotmail or Yahoo. Officials are also warning people to be careful if the salary of the job they are applying for seems unbelievably high and to watch out for fake websites as it is 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 affiliated with the Government of Canada.
‘Others may claim to offer special immigration deals or guaranteed high paying jobs to trick people into paying them money. Some of these sites may try to get you to provide private information that could be used to steal your identity,’ the spokesman explained. The CIC’s website address is www.cic.gc.ca and officials said that if even one character is different, that means it’s a different website. ‘If the website claims to be for an immigration organisation offering special deals to potential immigrants, be careful. Do not pay for offers of guaranteed entry into Canada or faster processing of your application. These claims are false,’ said the spokesman.
Advice includes checking the address in your browser’s address bar after you arrive at a website to make sure it matches the address you typed. You should never enter private information unless there is a padlock in the browser window at the beginning of the web address to show it is secure and if you’re suspicious about a website do a web search to see if anyone has reported any problems with that site.
People should also make sure their browser is up to date. Browser filters can help detect fake websites and people should also be wary of websites advertised in unsolicited e-mails from strangers. Officials also advise people not to give out personal information unless they are sure they know who they dealing with and if in doubt, they should contact the website owner directly by telephone or e-mail before doing anything.
‘You may get an e-mail that appears to be from a legitimate company, asking for private information such as your date of birth, passwords or credit card information. Sometimes you will be asked to do this by visiting a fake website like the ones mentioned above,’ the spokesman warned. ‘Some people have received e-mails that appear to be from CIC and that offer special immigration deals in exchange for personal information. CIC will never send you an e-mail asking for private information. If you get this kind of e-mail, do not click on any links or provide any information about yourself. If you have any doubts, contact the local Canadian embassy, consulate or high commission directly,’ he added.
AUGUST 5, 2013