With fraudsters roaming worldwide, it is easy to find yourself a victim at any time in this age of the internet. Fraudsters, nowadays, equipped with modern technology and constantly evolving techniques, ripple through human lives. It is sometimes challenging for law enforcement agencies to take the necessary actions to curb scams, due to a failure to locate scammers, inter-country laws and the sheer complexity of scammers’ intercontinental operations.
Due to fraud in Canada, in 2019, nearly 45,000 Canadians were victims, losing more than $96 million. These scams range from credit card fraud to elder fraud. Learn about these scams so that you can protect yourself, your family and friends. Thus you will know when to take the necessary actions and report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm
Snopes.com is another excellent resource.
#1. Your grandchild has gotten into a little trouble
Your grandparent(s) get a call saying that their grandchild has gotten into a little trouble. This could be getting arrested and they need bail money, or their automobile had a major breakdown (Need funds for repairs or for transportation back). The caller says the grandchild (Name was probably blurted out by the grandparent) asked them to call.....
What grandparent wouldn't rush to help their grandchild in a foreign country?
The important thing is to set up a codeword with your parents and grandparents, so they know that if they get a call, it is not a scam.
#2. Your Social Security Number (SIN) is compromised
One of the most common frauds in Canada includes your social security number being compromised. Scammers will call you pretending to be a Canadian Social Security Administration official and will tell you a story along with these storylines.
“Hello, I am X from the Social Security Administration, Canada. We have found a stolen car with your driving license init (They will tell your name) in Nunavut or Montreal. Unfortunately, the car has blood and drugs in it. We understand that you are innocent and a victim of identity fraud and thus want to help you. Within a few hours, your bank account will get frozen, so you better withdraw the money. We will issue you a new SIN number online. So, send us $X amount of money, now! You better do it now, or else you will go to jail and get deported.”
In all these conversations, they will be talking with you continuously to mount mental pressure on you, but, most importantly, it is to make sure you can’t speak with someone else. Beware of this SIN fraud in Canada!
#3. Romance Scams in Canada
Life here is good; you may think that the beautiful weather, friendly people, well-paying job and friends! You are telling yourself - “Oh, it couldn’t get better" but at the same time secretly wishing to find the love of your life. Then, one day, the future love of your life knocks you on social media. You start chatting. You are increasingly becoming grateful to your parents for bringing you to this world. Everything feels wonderful! Hormones kicks in and you can’t sleep at night! You start sending photos, even nude ones(?)!
The victimizers caught you in their trap. Their play for your money will soon start. Pay me money, or else your friends or families will have all your nudes. Many international students in Canada have fallen victim to this romance scam in Canada.
#4. Jobs scam in Canada
You are in Canada and now looking for a job. Suddenly, you saw an enticing job post that pays very well, and in no time, you applied. They quickly call you, and after the initial interview, they select you.
However, the tricks will start soon. These job scams in Canada range in almost all sectors, but the most common scenarios might be:
You have been selected for the security job. So, before you start, you need to make a payment of $X online for your security uniform.
You have been selected for work from home/ online job. In advance, they will pay you money so that you can buy a printer or laptop or any work-related items. Now, you must be thinking. What a wonderful country is this? Whoo! They will send you money in your bank account only to ask you to deposit this money to another account or your so-called official account. Swapping money may lead to severe percussions on your end from the authorities. The defrauders may use you for money-laundering, or some another scam. So be aware of this fraud in Canada.
Another form of scam can be a multilevel marketing scam. Marketing scams can be in many forms [Actually, you can write a 500-page book on the various types of multilevel scams]. The most common type of fraud is that a job agency will recruit you as a marketing officer and ask to make payment to buy a marketing course or office expense or recruit some people under you! This MLM type of scam can be hard to detect, and they exist all over the world.
#5. CIC work permit or Immigration Scam
These scams happen to students who just arrived in Canada. Scammers will pretend to call you either a CIC officer or an Immigration officer. The most common example would be:
A CIC officer calls you and will say, “They have reported that you have been working illegally (or committed a crime), and therefore your work permit has been suspended. As you are a new student, they are issuing you a verbal warning. However, you need to renew your work permit now, or else they will report you to the local police. They will instruct you on the payment methods.”
Calling from the immigration of X airport: This method and scale of scam is daunting. An immigration officer will contact you and ask you to submit some missing documents online. Someone may call you to verify your lost documents. The verification process involves money. So, they might request you to make prompt payment. Failing to meet the deadline will cost your admission cancellation. They may address themselves as the dean or higher immigration authority. Never trust the people asking for verification or payment issues. The dean and immigration officer is F.A.K.E! outrageous!!!
#6 Insurance and credit card Scam
An insurance company representative calls you, so a fantastic insurance deal. He says over the call, “Buy this health insurance for $10 that covers $5,000 of your health insurance deal!”. They will press you to buy it now because it is for a limited time. Credit card scams are similar. These scams target students who are new to Canada and don’t have credit/debit cards. With limited time and unbelievable offers for you to grab, you will be enticed to fall into their trap.
#7. Cheap housing
Advertising of cheap housing is another type of fraud in Canada that terrorizes students in Canada. With a beautiful room or house to rent, the fraudster advertises on other websites or social media. You wonder, such a cheap rent in this city? How is this possible? You want to jump at the deal and grab this opportunity. When you call to verify the rent, they will ensure that you understand the demand of this rent and quickly book or lease it! Common reasons you won’t see this property in person because the lessor is out of town or country.
Never pay in advance in this type of situation. Meet the lessor in person and verify the property first. Except for a deposit to hold the property (with a receipt issued in person), never pay a cent until you have a rental/lease agreement. Don’t make any payments beforehand. Make sure you have proof of payment (A receipt) if you agree to lease or rent the property! Each province has their own rental rules, so check them out first. Know your rights.
#10. College Scam:
These college scams are prevalent and many international students fall victim to them. Many fraudulent education agents, from outside Canada, will guarantee that you will get into a college or university for $X amount of money. Before you pay in any way, verify your university/college is on the Canadian government’s Designated Learning Institute list. You can find an excel sheet of approved DLI college/university from this post. You also have to ensure that you make any payment directly to the university because fraud agents will not forward your payment to the supposed college/ university.
#11. Work permit expired
Quite sooner or later, tricksters will call you to say your work permit is about to expire and you need to extend it. Otherwise, fraudsters will threaten that you will be reported to police, followed by all types of fear-mongering threats. Don’t send any money to them!
#12. Fake cheques
Sometimes one comes across what seems to be a lucrative job in housekeeping or landscape maintenance, for a few hours with a high hourly pay. The homeowner will ask questions to supposedly determine that you are the right person for the job. You will start working soon. However, they say that they are not in the country, but they will send you a check in advance. This is the bait.
So, you go cash the cheque. In Canada, processing cheques can take 2-5 business days, if you don't have the funds to cover it. After you get the money, the 'homeowner' will ask if you can send some emergency funds for 'whatever'. The money is needed urgently, supposedly. You send them money thinking, "They will write me a cheque to cover it." Well, this cheque of theirs will bounce, because it is a fake, and soon you will hear from your bank! You will be out the amount of the cheque, PLUS a hefty bank fee.
#13. Phishing, Spoofing, and pop-up fraud
This is another type of common scam that swindlers use. They will send you a link to their so-called “legitimate” website, which will ask for personal details. It is straightforward to build amazon/Fb/Instagram/or any government website clone. So when you try to login or fill out any form, hackers will get hold of your details and scam you very quickly. So never click on any link that you receive, which you aren't 100% sure is legit. This way, your computer might get corrupted with malware or hacked and feed your personal information (images/bank details/password) to hackers. And trust me, you won’t know that your computer was hacked.
Fraudulent websites, e-mails, or pop-up windows will often:
Ask you for personal information (Account number, Social Insurance Number, Date of Birth, etc.).
Appear to be from a legitimate source (Retail Stores, Banks, Government agencies, etc.).
Contain prizes or other types of certificate notices.
Link to other real or counterfeit websites.
Contain fraudulent phone numbers.
How to protect from phishing/spoofing:
Keep your passwords secret.
Keep anti-virus software up-to-date.
Avoid downloading programs from unknown sources.
Scan your computer for spyware regularly.
Activate a pop-up window blocker
Always be vigilant about scams. Being aware of your surroundings will protect you and present an opportunity to save someone from getting scammed in Canada. Even though scammers are good enough to scam honest souls, they present tell-tale signs. So, keeping a sharp eye on these red flags will help you locate a scammer.
Closely hear the accent.
Look for grammatical errors, punctuation errors and a lack of details about the product or service.
Check if the website they are referring to has HTTPS instead of HTTP. HTTPS is the secure and standard web version for any government or other website.
Double-check the domain or email address. Remember, fraudsters can not copy any existing web/phone address. Instead, they will closely mimic it.
Look out for fear-mongering/deportation/arrest threats. Scammers will always keep you on the call so that you can’t check with anyone.
They will always try to manipulate you by bringing a sense of urgency!
Never make any payment before you visit a place (house for rent). Always make online payments (automatic bank transfer to your landlord) You must fill out a form with your bank and the landlord must be registered to receive the funds. . Remember, it is your job to protect yourself.
Don’t take an offer or opportunity if it is “Too good to be true.”
Raise your eyebrows if someone asks for advance payment.
Beware of unusual or irregular email requests.
Never open/click attachments or links from sources you don’t know.
Review your credit card statement regularly for unauthorized charges
Review and change your password on your social media/credit card passcode regularly.
Watch the following videos of Competition Bureau Canada. They have included hundreds of videos on scams. The competition Bureau is an independent law enforcement agency that ensures Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace. The Competition Bureau encourages consumers or businesses to report fraud in Canada. It’s easy, confidential and you will be helping to make a difference in the lives of others.
Become a fraud buster!
The good thing is you located the fraudster and rejected the offer. Now, you need to report it to government authorities.
Tips on how you can help:
Note down the name, phone number, IP address, etc.
A picture of the fraudster (if possible).
If it was online, print out a screenshot of the web address and webpage.
Suppose you used a particular search term in a search engine that landed you on a fraudulent website. Note down the search term.
Free Canadian government resources to protect you from fraud:
AntiFraud Canada Contacts
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For general inquiries, please contact:
TTY (hearing impaired): 1-866‑694‑8389