Police warn of fraud targeting South Asian community
By Pam Douglas
BRAMPTON – Peel police are warning of an “extortion scam” targeting mainly new Canadians from the South Asian community.
Fraud investigators have received complaints from residents who have received phone calls from people posing as government officials from various federal agencies including, but not limited to, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), Service Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
The callers tell the victims their loved ones are under investigation in relation to their status in Canada and they demand money immediately, or face arrest.
The callers provide very specific instructions on how to pay, which may involved making Western Union or Money Gram transfers, sending bank transfers or buying a pre-paid credit car. They also ask for copies of personal identification documents, such as a driver’s licence, citizenship documents or passport.
Police offer the following tips to avoid becoming a victim:
• Canadian government officials will not contact you directly and demand money in exchange for securing your Canadian status;
• the Canadian government does not accept payments via Western Union, Money Gram or pre-paid credit cards;
• do not take immediate action when receiving a call such as this. Verify that what you are being told is true;
• ask yourself why a government official would ask for copies of personal documents they already have on file. They would not;
• beware of caller ID spoofing. Call displays can be manipulated, and con artists can provide real government agency contact numbers to make themselves appear legitimate.
To learn more about this fraud and other current scams affecting Canadians, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website at www.antifraudcentre.ca.