Edmonton Police Service has released information related to a series of immigration scams that have taken place in the city over the past year.
According to a release, “EPS received 17 reports of immigration scams in 2019, and 16 of those victims reported an overall loss of $730,250.31.”
As a result, police say student visa fraud impacts prospective students abroad.
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According to EPS, one student from Palestine was scammed out of over $3,000 when trying to apply for a study permit, by a fraudster pretending to be a lawyer.
The student, named Hadil, enlisted the help of a family member from Edmonton, who realized the business was fraudulent when he attempted to contact them after they asked for more money.
“Like Hadil’s incident, most frauds are intertwined as a way to launder the money and keep the fraudsters’ identities and financial information a secret,” said Detective Linda Herczeg with EPS’ Economic Crimes.
“Sadly, it re-victimizes citizens who feel trapped in their original scam, which typically involves extortion.”
According to EPS, many victims of immigration fraud are convinced of the false claims out of fear.
“If you’re contacted by someone who claims to be from a foreign embassy, border guard, immigration attorney, Canadian Immigration office, or simply anyone who is contacting you with a quick fix for any claims against you, verify the contact and business information before acting on it,” says the release from EPS.
“Please don’t be afraid to come forward and find the organization’s legitimate contact details to ask what is real.”