INVESTIGATORS from Ontario’s Peel Regional Police Fraud Bureau would like to make the public aware of an extortion scam currently targeting mainly new Canadians from the South Asian community.
Police have received reports from residents who have received phone calls from persons posing as government officials from various federal agencies, including Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), Service Canada and Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). They are led to believe by the so-called official that they or their loved ones are under investigation in relation to their Canadian status and must pay money immediately, or they will be arrested.
The caller will go on to provide very specific payment instructions, which may involve making Western Union or Money Gram transfers, sending bank transfers, or buying prepaid credit cards in order to make a payment. They will further request copies of personal identification documents such as drivers licence, citizenship documents, or passports.
How to protect yourself:
* 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 prepaid credit cards.
* Do NOT take immediate action. VERIFY that what you are being told is the truth.
* Ask yourself why a government official would be asking you to send copies of personal documents that they already have on file. They would NOT.
* Beware of caller ID spoofing: fraudsters can manipulate call displays or provide real government agency contact numbers in order to appear legitimate.
To learn more about this type of scam and other fraud scams currently affecting Canadians, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website at www.antifraudcentre.ca