Brampton, February 12 (CINEWS): There is a widespread belief that the perpetrators of this scam targeting South Asians in Peel Region are members of the same community.
Peel Regional Police are warning new Canadians from the South Asian community about an extortion scam.
Residents are getting phone calls from people pretending to be government officials from various federal agencies including Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), Service Canada and Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). They are told the Canadian status of their loved ones is being investigated and they have to pay money immediately, or they will be arrested. In many instances the caller has some specific knowledge about certain things that gives credibility to the caller’s identification.
The victims are given very specific directions on how to pay, which has involved making Western Union or Money Gram transfers, sending bank transfers, or buying prepaid credit cards, according to police.
The bogus government official will also ask for copies of personal identification documents such as a driver’s licence, citizenship documents or passports.
In the most recent incidents, taxis were sent to the victim’s homes to take them to Western Union or a bank, police said.
Peel police offer the following information to anyone who receives such a call:
• Canadian government officials will never contact you directly and demand money in exchange for securing your Canadian status;
• The Canadian government does not accept payments via Western Union, Money Gram or prepaid credit cards;
• Do not take action immediately. Verify that what you are being told is true;
• Ask yourself why a government official would ask you to send copies of personal documents that they already have on file. They would not.
• Be aware that there is such a thing as caller ID spoofing: Criminals can manipulate call displays or provide real government agency contact numbers so they appear legitimate.
It is frankly quite surprising that otherwise financial savvy South Asians can fall for a scam so easily. Perhaps some may actually have reason to fear such a call or have been expecting such a call.