What You Need to Know to Avoid Immigration Fraud

Published on: November 8th, 2018
Last updated: April 6th, 2022

Unfortunately, immigration fraud is a reality all around the globe; the more you know, the safer you will be in protecting your money and your resources.

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At Canadim, we do our best to extend immigration information to potential newcomers to Canada so that they are in the best position to steer clear of fraud. We’ve prepared a checklist of some of the most important things to consider when working with an immigration representative in order to protect yourself from fraud:

Where are you getting your immigration information?

If you have received an unsolicited e-mail or phone call from someone claiming to be an immigration representative, it may be fraudulent. Unless you have already filled out an assessment with your own information, or have directly contacted a representative, you should be cautious. It is very unlikely that someone would reach out to you first.

When searching for information online, it is necessary to be able to recognize a suspicious site. If the website is showing a different URL in the browser address bar from the one you typed in, it could indicate a fake website. Any website asking for your information will display a lock icon in the address bar, and should start with “https://”. The “s” means the page is secure and the information you enter is encrypted.

Who is the Immigration Representative?

There are two kinds of immigration representatives that are legally authorized to represent paid clients through the immigration process: immigration lawyers and immigration consultants. Although they share similar roles, there are key differences to know about in order to verify that they are legitimate, and to be aware of their different services.

  • Immigration Lawyers: must have attended law school and completed a three-year degree, they are also required to complete the bar exam and must be registered with a provincial bar association. They have several years of post-secondary education, and can represent you in the unlikely case your application is brought under judicial review.
  • Immigration Consultants: are not lawyers, they generally complete a one-year certification in order to become registered with the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory. Each Immigration Consultant has a seven digit ICCRC number which you can use to verify them. A consultant cannot represent you in court.

How can I be sure of their services?

It is essential to verify the credentials of your immigration representative to avoid being scammed. To verify the credentials of a lawyer you must look them up on their provincial bar association registry. If you are interested in an immigration consultant in Canada, you can search them through their ICCRC number.

There are some important red flags to be aware of when looking at an immigration representative’s services. If they cannot prove their authorization, or cannot clearly offer a way for you to confirm their credentials, you should be suspicious. As well, there is no way to absolutely guarantee the acceptance of an immigration application to Canada. Even if the case seems simple, the decision will always rest with the individual visa officer dealing with the case. Therefore anyone promising a guarantee for acceptance, or an accelerated path to approval, should not be trusted as this is not possible.

Finally, if an immigration service is asking you to pay to a personal bank account this should be a red flag. Legitimate lawyers and consultants will have a corporate bank account in order to transfer funds securely.

If you are concerned about immigration fraud you should speak with an authorized representative right away. With nearly twenty years of experience, Canadim offers expertise in Canadian immigration and personalized services tailored to you and your case.

Note

At Canadim, we will only contact clients or prospective clients through an authorized Canadim email account ending in @canadim.com. An easy way of getting in contact with individuals interested in Canadian immigration is through social media messaging, which is why it is a popular site for correspondence between fraudulent impersonators and real people.

If you are contacted without warning by an individual social media user claiming to be an immigration representative, make sure to verify their credentials. Canadim law firm will never message a user directly without previous contact, and never from a social media platform that is not our business profile or page.

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

If you’ve been made a victim of immigration fraud, you should report it to the proper authorities. Reporting fraud is a critical step in keeping everyone safe. If you think you’ve been made a victim of immigration fraud, or are in a fraudulent situation, contact the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. You can call the centre toll-free at 1-888-495-8501 or report online. Stop all communications with the individual, gather any communications you may have including text or WhatsApp messages, emails or social messages, and avoid making any major financial decisions until you have all the information you need.

The best way to protect yourself from immigration fraud is by learning how to identify and report it. Don’t jeopardize your immigration file by trusting the wrong representative.

 

To discover if you are eligible for Canadian immigration take our free online assessment and one of our legal experts will contact you to discuss your options.

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