The unfortunate reality is that scams and fraud occur everywhere, and Canada is not an exception. With that being said, newcomers can take certain precautions in order to prevent themselves from falling prey to these tricks. Continue reading to find out more about common scams and how you can protect yourself.
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Email scams have been common for quite some time. These are attacks that try to get your personal or sensitive information. Watch out for emails that direct you to strange sites and ask for your personal or login information. Email scams may use enticing offers, threatening warnings, or other tactics to get your attention.
Protect yourself by deleting the email. Change your password immediately if you suspect that it has become compromised. Only give out information to those you completely trust. If you have doubts, it is best not to click any links.
Newcomers who do not have a credit history may have trouble finding a place to live. This can lead to potential rental scams. Scammers will advertise their rental location on public sites. The advertisement may feature photos of homes taken from other sources online. Unsuspecting victims will speak with a person posing as the landlord. The imposter may create an excuse that they are currently not in the country and ask you to wire them money for payment. Furthermore, they may suggest you act quickly because another person is also interested in the rental. Needless to say, you will not receive any keys after wiring the money.
Protect yourself from rental scams by looking out for warning signs. Never give out money for a place you have never seen in-person. Research the address and see if the actual location matches the images being shown online. Consider the neighbourhood and compare prices, be wary if the rent is suspiciously low. Request a lease or contract and review it carefully. Lastly, know your rights as a tenant.
Posing as the Government of Canada
There are many scams that use fear tactics to scare newcomers into paying money. These scams rely on phone calls from someone posing as a government official. These fake calls can come from different government departments. A scammer pretending to work for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) can call you about incorrect paperwork and threaten deportation. Someone else could pretend to be from Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to threaten heavy fines because you owe outstanding fees. Another potential scam can occur when an imposter claims there is an issue with your Social Insurance Number (SIN). Regardless of the fake backstory, the scammer will claim that you are in some sort of trouble. As a result, newcomers may end up losing money or giving away their personal information unknowingly.
Learning about the proper government procedure will help you identify scammers who pose as government officials. Look out for some of the following warning signs that may suggest the person on the phone is trying to scam you.
Government departments will never resort to personal threats, aggressive language, or call the police to arrest you. Additionally, you will never be contacted to pay fees over the phone. Other warning signs of suspicious activities include being asked for payment through unorthodox methods such as prepaid credit cards, Western Union, gift cards, or e-transfer. On the other hand, real government departments will likely contact you through email. This email will notify you to check your message on an official website. This is the safest way of communication because emails can be faked to look like they were sent by official sources.
If you suspect you are speaking to a scammer on the phone, you should immediately hang up. You can confirm your suspicions by calling the government department at their toll-free numbers. Ask them if the call you just received was from a real representative of the department. If the call was fake, you can report the instance to the Canada Anti-Fraud Centre. If you have lost money from a scammer, you should report it to the local police.
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