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Immigration Fraud: 5 Red Flags

Published on: October 4th, 2016
Last updated: March 17th, 2022

The Canadim Team take Canadian Immigration fraud very seriously. Unfortunately, fraud is a prevalent problem in our industry. There are many unscrupulous individuals and companies that offer immigration services for a fee, then run away with their clients’ money, or use their identities for other criminal activities.

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Here are our top five red flags to look out for when engaging with a potential immigration representative:

1. You receive an unsolicited phone call or email

If you receive an email from someone claiming to be an immigration lawyer or consultant, or to be from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), that you did not solicit, it may be a scam. Unless you have previously submitted an assessment or otherwise contacted any of these parties, it is very unlikely that they would spontaneously reach out to you.

2. You cannot find the company or firm online

All Canadian companies and firms have some online presence. Usually, they’ll be present on social media like Facebook and have their own website. If you cannot Google the company or firm of the person contacting you, or if the website you do find seems suspicious, it may be a scam. Also, make sure you check the domain name of their email address. If it’s a generic email provider like Gmail or Hotmail, consider this a major red flag. Legitimate companies usually do not allow employees to use their personal email to conduct business.

Signs a website is suspicious

1) The website offers special deals to people who want to immigrate, guaranteed entry into Canada, or faster processing of your application.

2) The URL in your browser’s address bar when you land on the site is different than the one you typed in. If this happens, you have been redirected and this may indicate a fake website.

3) The website does not have a ‘Contact Us’ page, or the information on the ‘Contact Us’ page is not valid.

4) Any web page asking for personal information should display a lock, and start with “https://”. This indicates that the page has an SSL certificate that encrypts and secures the information provided on it. The information in between explains who the SSL certificate was issued to. For example, our free online assessment page is secure, and the SSL certificate was issued to “Renaud Dery Avocat inc.”:

3. You are guaranteed a job or visa

No one can guarantee you a job or visa to Canada. You should be very wary of individuals making such promises. Only immigration officers in Canada, at Canadian embassies, high commissions and consulates can decide to issue a visa. At Canadim we have a very high success rate for our clients, but we absolutely never guarantee a Canadian visa. Promises of guaranteed visas or jobs if you pay a extra are the most obvious red flag that you are dealing with a scammer.

4. You are being asked to deposit money into a personal bank account, or to pay fees in other unusual ways

Payments that you make to a legitimate immigration lawyer, consultant, or to the Government of Canada will never be made out to personal bank accounts. When you pay Canadim, your payments are made to:

Renaud Dery Avocat Inc. In Trust

This is Attorney Dery’s incorporated law firm’s account, not his personal account.

A 2016 scam targeting immigrants living in Canada claimed to be immigration officers or Canada Revenue Agency officers and demanded fees be paid in iTunes gift card. No genuine immigration lawyer, consultant, or Government of Canada employee will ever ask for payment in the form of gift cards. Any requests for payment in other unusual ways should be treated with caution.

5. Your representative cannot prove their certification

There are only two types of representatives that are legally allowed to accept payment for Canadian immigration services: lawyers and immigration consultants.

Lawyers

Canadian lawyers are all registered with the law society of the province that they practice in. If someone claims to be a Canadian immigration lawyer, they should be able to provide proof of their certification. For instance, you can find Attorney Renaud Dery on the Barreau du Québec website. This indicates that he is a qualified attorney in the province of Québec. For a complete list of provincial and territorial law societies, visit the government webpage ‘Find out if your representative is authorized‘.

Immigration Consultants

Citizenship or immigration consultants must be a member of the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (CICC). You can find a registry of all Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) on their dedicated webpage. It is illegal for a consultant not regulated by CICC to provide Canadian immigration services for a fee.

What to do if you believe you've been made a victim of immigration fraud

If you are in Canada:

Contact the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

Toll-free: 1-888-495-8501

If you are Outside of Canada:

Report the scam to your local police.

To find out if you’re eligible to immigrate to Canada, take our free online assessment.

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