24 September 2012

Authorities warn of Canada visa scam

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police has received reports of unscrupulous conmen contacting newly foreign nationals legally in the country either on a Canada visa or will full citizenship and attempting to extort money from.

Canada visa

Unscrupulous scammers are targeting legal immigrants in Canada to extort money from them.

Siddharth Kashyap, an Indian born software programmer who entered the country on a Canada visa in 2001 before becoming a full citizen in 2006, was contacted by an unknown caller and informed he was in the country illegally.

The called identified themselves as an immigration lawyer and told my Kashyap that he faced deportation after having failed to fill out of a 'Foreign Citizen Number' form. Originally believing it to a mistake, Mr Kashyap's concern grew when he was again contacted, this time from someone claiming to be with the Canadian Supreme Court to discuss an upcoming date.

"They made me believe really I'm an illegal immigrant," said Mr Kashyap. "He knew I was not a born citizen, that I immigrated to Canada, which is why they targeted me.

"I don't know how they managed, if it was just a fluke but they knew I was not a born citizen."

Mr Kashyap eventually contacted Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the RCMP to check the veracity of the case. Daniel Williams of the Canadian Anti0Fradu Centre said Mr Kashyap's case was the first such instance he had heard but has since received four more reports from Ontario alone.

"Sadly we assume that we'll be getting many calls in the future from people who have actually been victimised because, with any scam, the first people who to us are the ones who spot it as a scam right off," said Mr Williams.

Nigel Smith, immigration consultant at the Canadian Visa Bureau, says immigrants make easy prey for criminals as they are often unfamiliar with the legal system and are desperate to remain in the country.

"Firstly, if you are contacted by anyone regarding your immigration status, it should always be by the Canadian government, and if it's not, find out why," said Mr Smith.

"You should never hand any money over simply for the purpose of a reassurance and always check with Citizenship and Immigration Canada if you are in any doubt."

The Canadian Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people make their application to the Canadian Embassy.

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