Canadian authorities have warned that online platforms offering to “plan” and “facilitate” immigration to Canada are a scam, reports Radio Canada.
Sites such as canadavisaservices.org, itscanadatime.com, canadianvisaexpert.com, becomeacanadian.org, canadianvp.com and canadacis.org have all been the subject of several reports and reports of fraudulent behaviour, the same source said.
The modus operandi appears to be the same each time. People interested in leaving for Canada search the Internet or come across targeted advertisements on social networks (such as Facebook) referring to sites with attractive offers to plan “your arrival in Canada” with full support in exchange for a large sum of money.
A “counsellor” then contacts the victim by phone, sometimes guaranteeing a “job search”, “accommodation”, “handing over the keys to your apartment as soon as you arrive at the airport”, and a plane ticket. Some platforms guarantee that the file will be “highlighted” to the immigration services, which is supposed to ensure that the file is accepted.
These platforms are also available in several languages in order to guarantee a wider range of victims, with sites aimed at a French-speaking public, others at an English, Italian or Arabic-speaking public. Each with the promise of an “easy path to Canada”.
Sites managed from Israel
In fact, that is not the case. Falling into the trap, victims transfer money (usually thousands of euros or dollars) as well as personal and banking data to these platforms. Once the scam has been carried out, they disappear without giving any news. All that remains for the victim to do is to file a complaint, with little chance of success, since these platforms are, according to Radio Canada, managed from Israel.
“Citizenship and immigration officials do not have privileged access to [Immigration Department] programs and services and cannot guarantee anyone a visa, permit or citizenship,” warns Nancy Caron, spokesperson for the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
“Apart from a representative of the Government of Canada, no one – neither an immigration consultant nor a lawyer – can deprive an immigration applicant of eligibility for one of our programs,” the Immigration Canada spokesperson also said in response to threats made to some victims by these platforms when victims refuse to follow up on the scam by sending money.
An immigration applicant “does not need to use the services of a representative,” the IRCC spokeswoman also said, noting that “this will help prevent people from becoming victims of fraud or risking obtaining inaccurate or outdated information or forms.