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Immigrants targeted, threatened with deportation scams; Detective says to report to police any potential fraud

If you have already sent funds to a potential fraudster, contact the Edmonton Police Service at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at http://www.tipsubmit.com/start.htm.

For more information, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-654-9426 or email info@antifraudcentre.ca.

News Release
Immigrants targeted, threatened with deportation scams; Detective says to report to police any potential fraud

The Edmonton Police Service has received several reports of scams targeting immigrants and threatening them with deportation since February 2014.

Complainants have reported that they have received calls from people claiming to work with Canada Revenue Agency, Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Immigration Canada or a police service. The fraudulent calls have stated that individuals have not filed their taxes appropriately or have not registered themselves as alien immigrants. Callers have allegedly made threats of issuing warrants for their arrest, jail time, loss of immigration status and deportation.

“If you suspect you have been a target of fraud or if you have already send funds, you are not alone,” says Det. Mo Banga with Southeast Division. “Many of the complainants may not speak English as their first language and are afraid of the threats made against deportation.”

Instructions are given to purchase PayPower Visa prepaid cards in various amounts. Gift cards have been purchased from various retailers around Edmonton including grocery and home building stores. The complainants are told to give information from the back of the gift cards to the fraudsters.

“Retailers selling gift cards should also be aware of these types of scams,” says Det. Banga. “In one incident, the retailer questioned the complainant about the large amount for the prepaid gift cards and suggested them to report the occurrence to police.”

The following are some incidents of these types of fraud reported to police:

1) On Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014 at 6 p.m. a complainant reported a fraud with the front counter at Southeast Division. He was allegedly contacted on Feb. 21, 2014, just after 12:30 p.m. from someone alleging to be from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. The fraudsters remained in contact with the complainant for three days. He was told he was being investigated by Immigration Canada for failing to register himself as an immigrant. He was told to pay $11,400 through prepaid Visa cards. He abided by the demands and purchased the total amount in gift cards at a grocery store. He was contacted again on Feb. 27, 2014 claiming his wife was subject to violating the same immigration law. He eventually paid a total of $34,400 to the alleged agency.

2) On Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, at 9:30 a.m. a female complainant reported a similar incident with Southeast Division. She was instructed to purchase $1,500 in prepaid Visa cards and was threatened with imprisonment. She reported the incident immediately to police and did not follow through with the demands.

3) On Friday, Mar. 7, 2014 at 10 a.m. a man reported to police a suspicious call he received a call from an unknown caller claiming to be from Canada Revenue Authority. The male was threatened to pay almost $2,000 or face deportation. The male did not comply and reported the incident to police.

4) On Friday, March 7, 2014, at 12 p.m. a woman received a call from an unknown number, claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Authority. The woman was threatened to pay over $2,300 back in outstanding taxes and fines and was told a warrant was issued for her arrest. She was also threatened with deportation. The woman did not follow through on the alleged fraud and reported it to police immediately.

5) On Friday, March 7, 2014 at 12:15 p.m. a woman fell victim to the same type of fraud. She was threatened with deportation and suffered losses of approximately $2,000 in prepaid Visa cards.

6) On Friday, March 7, 2014, another woman reported the similar type of fraud to the front counter of Southeast Division. She was instructed to pay nearly $1,000 but did not follow on the demands of the suspects.

7) On Wednesday, Mar. 19, 2014 Southeast Division received yet another fraud complaint at the front counter. The complainant reported that he and his wife had been convinced to hand over $2,500 in cash to two males who claimed to be with the Canada Revenue Agency. Prior to the meet, numerous phone calls had been made from an unknown phone number. The alleged suspects told the complainant he still had an outstanding balance that needed to be paid. Two white male suspects picked up the remaining funds of $2,700 from the complainants’ home in a black Dodge Caravan. When a receipt was requested, the suspects fled the scene.

Description of male suspects:

Suspect #1: White male, 5’11” tall, clean shaven, wearing white formal shirt and black pants with dress shoes and ‘RayBan’ sunglasses. A hooded top was noted underneath the dress shirt. The hood top was used to obscure identity under the guise that the male was ‘cold’.

Suspect #2: White male wearing baseball cap.

8) Northeast Division has also had three complainants come forward with similar situations. One complainant lost $800 and the other gave $10,000 to the alleged fraudsters. These prepaid gift cards were purchased from a home building store.

9) Other similar incidents are being investigated by police with loses ranging from $1,000 – $25,000.

“If you are suspicious about a call from a federal agency, ask for details and call the agency back to confirm the request is legit,” suggests Det. Banga. “Also call police to advise them of the potential fraud.”

If you have already sent funds to a potential fraudster, contact the Edmonton Police Service at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at http://www.tipsubmit.com/start.htm.

For more information, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-654-9426 or email info@antifraudcentre.ca.

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