Every day, thousands of people around the world start looking into the Canadian immigration process hoping for a better life. Sadly, as they navigate the often complex immigration process, many of these people fall prey to Canada immigration frauds and scams.
In fact, immigration fraud is a very lucrative business for unscrupulous people who have no problems taking advantage of unsuspecting people and fleecing them for thousands of dollars, if not more.
In this post, we’ll have a look at how to avoid Canada immigration frauds and will give you a few tips on how to find trustworthy RCICs.
What Kind of Immigration Frauds Should You Watch Out for?
Immigration fraud happens every day and fraudulent activities can range from a company or an individual posing as a Canadian government official to get information and money out of you to them providing you with fake documentation and paperwork that will lead you nowhere.
Who Is at Risk of Fraud Attacks?
Immigration fraud happens just as easily with newly arrived immigrants or new permanent residents.
One of the more common Canada immigration fraud which targets newcomers is to pose as a government official and make claims that their new resident status is under threat and they must pay a sum of money to avoid any complications with their immigration status. They may ask the newcomer for personal information or original documents such as PR paperwork, SIN number, etc.
Unfamiliar with government practices and feeling insecure with their status, many people naturally fall for this scam, especially if they are being threatened.
It is important to remember that Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will never threaten you, or call you to ask for additional fees or fines.
If there is any problem with your paperwork, you will receive formal correspondence from an official in the department. Also, any payments that do need to be made as part of your application process are done through a bank or the federal government’s website. Never through external payment methods.
What to do when coming across frauds?
If you suspect that someone is trying to scam you, contact the appropriate authorities right away. This way you might save many other immigrants from being a victim of a fraud attack.
How to Avoid Immigration Frauds?
With technology being where it is today, it can be very easy for a fraudster to pass off as a legitimate Canada immigration consultant or agency. Fortunately, if you pay attention, there are ways of spotting a scammer.
Check a Website
When trying to select an immigration agency or RCIC, their website is always a good place to start your research.
A legitimate agency will be completely transparent and will have information such as an RCIC registration number, names of the immigration lawyers they are working with, contact information, and reviews. A legitimate website will also be very secure and should have a padlock on the browser.
Keep in mind some of the information, such as reviews and contact details can be fake, so make sure that the website you clicked on wasn’t redirected to a fraudulent IRCC portal.
If you’re on a Canadian government website, the website should end with a ‘gc.ca’. if it doesn’t but it looks like a government site, chances are very high it’s a fake page.
You can also check if they have a LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook / Instagram page.
Fake emails are becoming increasingly hard to discern but something to remember. An official email will never come from a public email domain. Emails from the federal government will always end in ‘gc.ca’.
If the spelling of the domain name is off, it’s likely a scam.
If the language seems off, misspelt or not professional, it’s likely a scam.
If payment is requested right away, it’s a scam.
Check If Consultants are Registered
Unfortunately, almost anyone can get set up with a fake RCIC agent’s name and registration number.
To make sure the RCIC agent you are considering hiring has legitimate credentials, check the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC-CRCIC). Certified immigration lawyers and RCICs are registered on the ICCRC website and you can look them up using their name, registration number, and company name.
Be Careful with Payments
A scammer’s main purpose is to take money from you. As much of it as they can. So if any agency or individual begins the process by asking you for money, that should be a red flag. Most places will not charge you anything for an initial assessment, guides, or forms.
All this information is provided free of charge on IRCC’s website and the only payment required is a processing fee when submitting your completed application.
If the company you are dealing with asks you to make payments through unsecured links or applications like Whatsapp, that’s a big red flag. A legitimate immigration agency will not request payments through illegitimate means.
What do RCIC Promise?
Nobody can guarantee your immigration to Canada.
If any Canada immigration consultants make you that promise, they are lying and trying to get money out of you. If you receive emails or phone calls telling you that you won an ‘immigration lottery’, be wary.
The only person with the authority and power to make you a permanent resident is the Canadian government. Companies stating otherwise are lying.
If you are ever asked to submit your original documents early in the process, such as your passport, birth certificate or educational credentials, etc. that’s another red flag. The Canadian federal government does indeed request original documents, but they only do so much later in the application process.
If you hand them over to a scammer, they may refuse to give them back to you unless you pay a large sum of money.
How to Find a Legit and Trusted RCIC?
Customer experience today is tight close with online research, so most likely you will start looking for an RCIC with a google query.
However, you will see so many offers out there that it could be hard to choose a worthy one.
So, how do you navigate through all of the offers out there?
You need to take some time for the online research. One of the most important things is not to rush into anything – allow yourself to dig deep and make an informed decision.
Here are some tips that may make this challenging search easier for you:
- Don’t narrow down your search to local results – try going global, RCICs services can be delivered online just as smoothly as offline;
- Whenever you come across the offer that sounds more or less attractive to you, try to check the consultants you consider following the points we listed in the post above;
- Try to find real reviews – those could be found on a website of the consultancy you consider (beware of faked reviews though) or on websites like Trustpilot or BBB;
- It will save time considerably if before you observe all of the information about an RCIC – you use the ICCRC website to check if this consultant is officially registered;
- Apart from websites where actual clients leave reviews (like the ones we mentioned), there are also RCIC reviews done by niche experts – you may check them out to get detailed and structured information about many consultants offering their services.
Becoming the victim of an immigration scam can be mentally, physically, and financially taxing, so it is always recommended that you seek the help of a registered professional.
When you go through an accredited and certified RCIC, they can save you a lot of questions and headaches and simply the entire immigration process for you.
The trick is finding the right RCIC or agency. Canada2036 has put together a top Recommended Canadian Immigration Consultants list based on extensive research, customer testimonials, and other vetting methods.
If you’re doing your own research, keep the points above in mind. Make a checklist and make sure the agency you are considering checks all the boxes and raises no red flags.