(Milton, Ontario – Monday, January 4, 2016) – Members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Greater Toronto Area Financial Crime Unit would like to warn the public of an ongoing scam by imposters claiming to be Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) employees. [Formerly known as Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)].
The following is a realistic portrayal of an IRCC scam that has been seen by RCMP investigators. This approach is one of many used by fraudsters. Please note that not every call is as dark and sinister as this one.
Imagine a friend or relative has recently moved to Canada to seek refuge from a war torn country. The victim's name is "Taunya" she is a widow, and lives with her 5 year old daughter in Ottawa, Ontario. Taunya works full time to support herself and her daughter. She also studies at a local community college. Just as she is about to climb into bed after working all night at her job, the phone rings...a call from the 647 (GTA) area code:
IRCC Imposter: Hello this is Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada calling, I have bad news for you.
Taunya: Sorry? Who is this?
IRCC Imposter: This is Roger_______ (an Anglophone surname, which is confusing as it is contrasted by a strong ethnic accent) from Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada. Your status has changed and you must pay additional fees.
Taunya: I don't understand.
IRCC Imposter: Please confirm your full name and address as well as those who live with you?
Taunya: I don't understand. I live alone with my 5 year old daughter. I live at 105 Main Street.
IRCC Imposter: Please provide your passport number?
IRCC Imposter: What do you do for a living?
Taunya: I work full time and study part time.
IRCC Imposter: You changed your status without advising Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada and as a result you must pay additional fees. You owe $12,000.
Taunya: I don't know how that could have happened, I can't afford that.
IRCC Imposter: (irritated by the amount of time that he has spent to get his point across, is now yelling into the phone) YOU WILL BE ARRESTED BY THE POLICE TODAY AND DEPORTED AND SEPARATED FROM YOUR CHILD, DO YOU WANT THAT TO HAPPEN?
Taunya: Of course not! No!
IRCC Imposter: Good, then you will go to the nearest Western Union or MoneyGram and you will follow my directions.
Taunya: Does not make any sense! I am going to record this and call the police.
IRCC Imposter: (yelling) DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR DAUGHTER IS NOW?
Taunya: Pardon me? Is that a threat?
IRCC Imposter: No, but your daughter will be kidnaped today (hangs up).
Although Taunya was extremely disturbed by the phone call, she saw through the imposter's ruse. And like many other fraudsters, the moment he was exposed, he ran. Fortunately, Taunya saw this for what it was...a scam. Unfortunately many new hard working Canadians are fooled and have lost money.
What makes this worst is that many victims never report these incidents to the police. If you, a friend or family member has either received a call from a fraudster, or has lost money through this type of call, please report it. Lastly, if you are reading this, please do your part in sharing this message with everyone and help us to educate new Canadian's against this type of fraud.
This is a fraud similar to the CRA scam. Both extort money from their victims through a number of different threats. Both of these frauds are being perpetuated coast to coast, and have impacted both male and female victims from many different age groups and cultural backgrounds.
When you receive a suspect phone call from someone purporting to be the IRCC, CRA or other government agency please take the following steps:
Report any fraud attempt or if you are a victim of fraud to your local police service as well as the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC). You have two ways to make a report to the CAFC; either by phone at 1-888-495-8501 (9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time) or through their online reporting tool at http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/reportincident-signalerincident/index-eng.htm
Starting next Monday January 11th we will be posting five questions (1 question per day), related to this media advisory, on our @RCMPONT Twitter account and on our Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Ontario Facebook page, www.facebook.com/rcmp.ontario. Test your skills, and respond with the correct answer. At the end of each day we will post the right answer.
Please join in the discussion and help to raise awareness of this type of fraud.
If you would like to have a presentation about fraud and what to look out for, and you are in or near the Greater Toronto Area, please contact our media relations officer, Sergeant Penny Hermann at 905-876-9571 or email firstname.lastname@example.org