Monday, March 4th, 2019
Unfortunately, fraud against newcomers is on the rise.
Here are the top 5 scams hitting this vulnerable segment of our population along with citizens at large.
1. Immigration Lawyer Scam
Just the person a new Canadian is looking to trust, their lawyer, could be a fake. Be on the lookout for phishing emails, unsolicited calls and fake websites trying to look legit.
Since this is a newer scam on the Canadian government's radar, the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre doesn't have dollar amounts lost or victims to date.
How to Protect Yourself
2. Telephone Extortion - CRA Scam
Fraudsters call consumers impersonating the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) claiming a recent audit has identified discrepancies from past filed taxes. Repayment is demanded. Fraudsters threaten consumers that failure to pay will result in additional fees and/or jail time. Fraudsters often request payment by bitcoin or prepaid cards.
Total loss reported: $10,262,344 with 1,689 victims reported.1
Who wouldn't want a windfall? However, it's not going to happen if you didn't buy a ticket or enter your name for a prize. Canadians are solicited over the phone, by mail, email or through social media websites with claims that they're the winner of a large lottery or sweepstakes. They tell the victim that before receiving any winnings, he or she must first pay an upfront fee, but no winnings are ever received.
For example, scammers say that you've won a prize (cash and car), and in order to receive the winnings, you're required to pay a small advance fee to cover taxes or legal fees associated with the win.
Total loss reported: $2,986,323 with 448 victims reported. 1
4. Online Job Scams
People who are new to this country are often eager to get to work. Scammers are on the ready to recruit potential victims. The most common scams include the Mystery Shopper, Car Wrapping and HR/Administrative jobs.
Total loss reported: $4,872,811 with 474 victims reported. 1
Scammers use every type of dating or social networking site available to seek out potential victims. In this heartless crime, the fraudster will gain the trust of the victim through displays of affection and will communicate by phone, Skype, social media platforms and email to build trust. The scammer will often claim to be working abroad, usually in a lucrative business venture. Eventually the scammer will want to meet with the victim in person. It's at this time that the scammer will inform the victim they can't afford to travel, and they'll ask for money to cover travel costs.
Other variations include the scammer claiming that there's a medical emergency with a sick family member and will ask for money to cover medical expenses.
Total loss reported: $22,523,278 with 760 victims reported. 1
1 Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre statistics for the year 2018