Threat of deportation lands thousands of dollars in fraudsters’ hands
The Edmonton Police Service has received several reports of scams targeting the Indo-Canadian community and immigrants by threatening them to pay thousands of dollars or face deportation since April 2015.
Complainants 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 state that individuals have not filed their taxes appropriately or have not registered themselves as alien immigrants. Fraudsters allegedly make threats of issuing warrants for 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 Const. Pritpaul Bhui, a Community Liaison Constable with Southeast Division. “Many of the complainants are not familiar with Canadian law and are afraid of deportation threats.”
Criminals are providing specific instructions to purchase PayPower Visa prepaid cards or gift cards in various amounts. Gift cards have been purchased from various retailers around Edmonton including grocery stores and gas stations. Complainants are told to provide the information from the back of the gift cards to the fraudsters over the phone.
“Retailers selling gift cards should also be aware of these types of scams,” says Const. Bhui. “In one incident, a retailer informed the complainant they were being scammed and advised them to report the occurrence to police.”
If you are suspicious about a call from a federal agency, ask for more details and call the agency back to confirm the request is genuine. You can also call police to advise them of the potential fraud.
If you have already sent funds to a potential fraudster, or have been contacted by a suspicious person, 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 atwww.tipsubmit.com/start.htm.