Immigration Scam Warning
The Calgary Police Service Economic Crimes Unit is warning Calgarians of an immigration scam in which offenders have collected valid personal information about the victim.
Since Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015, it is believed that fraudsters took over $20,000 from two Calgary victims. CPS is also aware of a third incident on Monday, Nov. 30, 2015, in which no money was lost. These immigration scams use the same techniques as, and are often associated with, CRA scams.
In these cases, victims were typically contacted via phone by people pretending to be an employee with Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The fraudsters claimed that the victim’s immigration status was in jeopardy and that the victim needed to pay money to correct the issue, or face deportation. In these instances, the scammers also had valid personal information about the victims and their families, such as names and date of births, to try and legitimize the fraudulent claim.
The offenders continued to threaten the victims with deportation and in one case, the offenders told the victim they would send RCMP officers to victim’s house to collect the money or alternatively arrest the victim. In this case, two dark-skinned, possibly Southeast Asian, Hispanic or Aboriginal men in dark-blue uniforms attended the victim’s residence in a white, newer model, four-door car. The offenders then drove the victim down to the Calgary Courts Centre where one of the offenders entered the building and returned to the vehicle with more fraudulent paperwork that questioned the victim’s immigration status. In total, the victim spent over eight hours on the phone with the offenders and sent four separate money transactions.
In some cases, the originating phone number is 1-613-993-7267, which is the number for RCMP National Headquarters General Inquiries line. It is believe the offenders are cloning this number to legitimize their claims. Calgarians should be aware that the RCMP does not contact individuals for the purpose of collecting fines or taxes, and never asks the public to make a payment over the telephone.
The investigation by the CPS Economic Crimes Unit is ongoing.
Police encourage anyone who believes they may have lost money to one of these scams to call the Calgary Police non-emergency line at 403-266-1234. Anyone who may have other information about these scams is asked to contact the non-emergency number, or Crime Stoppers anonymously using any of the following methods: TALK: 1-800-222-8477, TYPE: www.calgarycrimestoppers.org, TEXT: tttTIPS to 274637.
Citizens can help protect themselves using the following practices:
- Do not feel pressure to respond to a request until you have a chance to verify the story.
- Never transfer money, or give out credit card or other financial information, until you can verify the person’s identity and the story, and determine whether it is legitimate.
- The RCMP or CIC will not ask for payment via prepaid credit cards or wire transfer.
- Verify the number given to you through online sources, and then hang up and phone that number back, if legitimate, to confirm the caller’s identity.
- Don’t believe what you see. Business logos, websites and email addresses can easily be duplicated to look legitimate.
- Ignore calls for immediate action or messages that create a sense of urgency.
- Never provide personal information such as SIN, bank account information or credit card numbers.