Ottawa, March 22, 2012 – Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and the Competition Bureau are joining together during Fraud Prevention Month to warn potential immigrants to be wary of websites claiming to be, or to be affiliated with, official Government of Canada websites.
These websites, which sometimes use the Canada wordmark or CIC logo without permission to target individuals wishing to live in Canada, purport to offer special immigration deals or guaranteed high-paying jobs for a fee. Unfortunately, these claims are fraudulent and the victim loses his or her money with no tangible results.
The only people who may charge a fee to represent or advise people in connection with a Canadian immigration proceeding or application are authorized immigration consultants, lawyers, Quebec notaries, and paralegals regulated by a law society. Under Canada’s immigration programs, all people are treated equally, whether they hire someone to represent them or not.
CIC and the Competition Bureau would like to offer the following advice on how to avoid becoming a victim of immigration fraud:
- Be wary of websites advertised in unsolicited emails from strangers and do not give out personal information unless you know who you are dealing with.
- Before hiring an immigration representative, do your homework: ask for a referral from someone you trust, check their credentials, and discuss the services they will offer. For information on how to choose an immigration representative, you may visit CIC’s website at www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/representative/index.asp.
- There is no “immigration consultant” website that is part of, or affiliated with, the Government of Canada. If you are suspicious about a website, do a Web search to see if anyone has reported any problems with that site.
- Do not pay for offers of guaranteed entry into Canada or faster processing of your application. These claims are false.
On March 1, the Bureau launched Fraud Prevention Month, an annual education campaign to improve awareness and understanding of the dangers of fraud so that Canadians can protect themselves in the marketplace and avoid becoming victims of fraud.
This year’s theme is Building Consumer Confidence. Consumers need to know that they can trust the businesses they deal with, that the websites they visit are legitimate, and that they can make informed purchasing choices, based on advertising that is truthful and complete.
The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.
CIC recently launched a multilingual ad campaign warning prospective immigrants, permanent residents and Canadian citizens not to be taken in by crooked immigration consultants. This includes a short video warning people not to be duped into committing marriage fraud. The video directs people to a special page on the CIC website (www.immigration.gc.ca/antifraud) to find out how to immigrate to Canada “the right way.”