Canada's Immigration Ministry is warning of a scam targeting international students in Ottawa and London, Ontario. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) says a number of students in these and other Canadian cities have reported receiving calls from an individual who says they are an IRCC officer and tells the students they are the subject of an immigration investigation, or have been charged with a crime in their home country. The students are then ordered to provide personal financial information or send prepaid credit and gift cards, money wires or e-transfers in order to avoid deportation.
"These phone calls are a scam," IRCC says in a news release issued April 24. "It is important not to respond to the caller or transfer any money to them."
IRCC said the calls appear to come from local numbers, but it is believed they originate outside Canada.
"While this scam has emerged most recently in Ottawa and London, international students across Canada should be aware of these types of phone calls," IRCC says.
IRCC says it will never contact an individual in person, online, or by telephone to collect fees or fines and say it's to avoid deportation or other consequences.
Anyone concerned about possible scams can visit IRCC’s dedicated page on the issue.