A recent investigation from the Montreal Gazette has uncovered a sophisticated Canadian immigration scam targeting job seekers.
A representative from a fake Montreal company named Montreal Construction Company would reach out to unsuspecting job seekers. There would then be a prolonged interview process with detailed questions from multiple individuals. The interviewers would appear knowledgeable about the industry they are hiring for, giving the interviewee reassurance the job was legitimate.
Following the lengthy interview process, the applicant would be offered the job. Once the job is accepted, the applicant is directed to make a payment to an immigration consultant to process the fees for the Canadian work permit.
Unfortunately, Canadian immigration scams are nothing new. They occur regularly but what is so unique about this particular case is the sophistication of the fraud. The Montreal Gazette investigation uncovered several fake company websites dedicated to the scam as well as websites that impersonate real Canadian immigration consultants.
Further investigation from ITC News discovered that the content for many projects listed on the Montreal Construction Company’s website was copied from Nahanni Construction LTD., a legitimate business operating in Northwest Territory.
Why are Canadian immigration scams so hard to stop?
Canadian immigration scams are a major problem with very few solutions. The fraudsters are often outside of Canada leaving very little recourse for law enforcement. Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada have stated they have earmarked $51 million to help combat Canadian immigration fraud but no amount of money can stop the scams altogether.
How to spot Canadian immigration scams
As immigration scammers get more sophisticated, so too must applicants. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or seek outside advice whenever possible.
The best way to help yourself from being a victim is to be able to identify the signs and red flags associated with the operations. If you are offered a job from a Canadian employer, do your research and look out for the following:
- Check the address on Google Maps, go to Street View and review if there is signage from the company?
- Search for the company on LinkedIn. Do they have a company page? If they do, look at the people who work there. Are they the same as the people you spoke to?
- Look for reviews of the company hiring you. Not all companies have reviews, but if they are in the service industry, it’s likely they will.
- Where is the destination of the money you are sending going? Is it within Canada? If it’s not, this is a serious red flag.
- If you suspect you’re being scammed, ask the company that is offering you the job and requesting you to pay an agency to process the work permit if you can select another agency that you choose. If they say no, this may also be a bad sign the offer is a scam.
- Is the email address or phone number of the person contacting you the same as it would be for the company? If it is the same, it still could be a scam given the case mentioned in this article had fake a domain name. But if the email address or phone number isn’t the same as the company hiring you, this is a major red flag to look out for.