Fraudsters pose as immigration officials in phone scam, police warn


Fraudsters pose as immigration officials in phone scam, police warn

Scammers pose as Citizenship and Immigration Canada employees in phone cash grab

CBC News Posted: Dec 17, 2015 6:58 PM ET Last Updated: Dec 17, 2015 6:58 PM ET

Ottawa police say they’re receiving daily complaints of fraudsters posing as government employees in an attempt to pocket money from those going through the immigration process.

The scam works like this: someone claiming to be from Citizenship and Immigration Canada calls and demands a fee of $2,000 to correct faulty paper work in an application.

Mandira Purie, who recently retired as a public servant at the department, says she received a call from someone who told her that her immigration form had not been updated — and immediately recognized it as a scam because she is a Canadian citizen.

But with an influx of refugees on the way, she’s worried others could easily get duped.

« I’m concerned about people who might end up disclosing their credit card information because they’re so concerned and they’re not citizens and they’re afraid of being deported, » she said.

The fraudsters typically try to get the person they’re calling to disclose private information —  including credit card numbers — to pay for made-up fines, said Ottawa Police Service Staff Sgt. Stephanie Burns.

Burns said anyone who receives a suspicious call shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions.

« What we find is that people who do ask questions and start to push back a bit, it quickly unravels into a scam because the person on the other end of the line gets abusive and starts to get very hostile, » said Burns.

« And that’s an absolute indicator that they’re trying to scam you, » she said.

Anyone with doubts about the legitimacy of a call from Citizen and Immigration Canada are encouraged to ask for the agent’s name and then call the department’s call centre at 1-888-242-2100 to find out whether or not that person is legitimate.