Navigating Canada Safely: A Newcomer's Guide to Avoiding Common Scams- Part 1

Navigating life in Canada as a newcomer involves more than just adjusting to the weather and culture; it requires awareness of potential scams that could jeopardize your financial security. Recent data from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre indicates that in the first half of 2023, scams amounted to a staggering $283.5 million CAD, affecting over 21,200 individuals.

To empower newcomers against these threats, this article highlights common scams, providing insights on how to identify red flags, protect personal information, and respond if targeted.

  1. Banking and Tax Scams

Phishing Emails and Calls

Beware of deceptive emails or calls urging you to invest or share personal banking details. Fraudsters often pose as legitimate entities, prompting you to click on links leading to fake websites resembling your bank's. Remember:

  • Legitimate organizations won't request information they already possess.
  • Avoid responding to emails from unknown senders directing you to unfamiliar websites.
  • Refrain from divulging personal information unless certain of the recipient's identity and website security.

Actions to Take

  • Delete suspicious emails; reputable companies don't send unsolicited bulk emails.
  • Avoid clicking on links or sharing personal information.
  • Verify sender identity by contacting your bank or relevant agency.

2.Fake Calls from Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)

Be wary of calls alleging tax fraud investigations and demanding immediate payments. The CRA never employs aggressive language or requests payment via unusual methods. If in doubt:

  • Hang up and verify the call's legitimacy by contacting the CRA at 1-800-959-8281.
  • Report suspicious calls to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
  • Report losses to local authorities.

3.Credit or Debit Card Fraud

Protect yourself from card fraud by:

  • Avoiding sharing card details or PIN over phone or email.
  • Concealing your PIN when making transactions.
  • Reporting unusual card reader behavior to your bank.

4.Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship (IRCC) Scams

Government Impersonation

Guard against calls claiming immigration irregularities and demanding fees. Genuine communication from IRCC will never involve:

  • Telephone fee collections or threats of arrest or deportation.
  • Solicitation of personal or financial information over the phone.
  • Urgent demands for immediate payment via unconventional methods.

Responses to Suspicious Calls

  • Hang up and confirm the call's legitimacy by contacting IRCC at 1-888-242-2100.
  • Report fraudulent calls to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
  • Report losses to local authorities.
  • If your SIN is compromised, contact Service Canada at 1-866-274-6627.

Compromised SIN

Exercise caution if contacted about your SIN:

  • Keep your SIN secure, sharing only with necessary entities.
  • Refuse to provide your SIN to landlords.
  • Avoid sharing personal information over the phone or clicking on links in emails from unknown sources.

Note: Caller ID may be manipulated by scammers; don't solely rely on it for verification.

By staying vigilant and following these guidelines, newcomers can fortify themselves against common scams prevalent in Canada.

Stay tuned next week for part 2 to know more about employment scams, housing scams and more!