There are many commercial or private websites that offer immigration or citizenship services. Some promote legitimate representatives’ services that you will need to pay for. Others will offer false guarantees to take your money or steal your private information.
A website might be a fake or a scam if:
- you are asked to pay to access application forms and guides. IRCC only charges fees to process your application.
- Forms and guides are free on the IRCC website.
- the website offers special, too good to be true immigration deals, or guarantees entry into Canada, high-paying jobs or faster processing of your application.
- it looks like an official Government of Canada site but it is only in one language and does not have the Canada.ca URL or a URL that ends with “.gc.ca.”
- you must provide personal information, financial information or make a deposit before you even start the application process.
- there is no padlock in the browser window or https:// at the beginning of the web address to show it is a secure site. Even if the site appears secure, be cautious.
- the website was advertised in an email from a stranger that you did not ask for.
- you cannot reach anyone listed in the website’s contact information, or the website has no contact information.
- the company’s or representative’s credentials cannot be found on the site. Paid representatives have to be authorized.
- This means they are a member in good standing of the designated body for their group.
To avoid website scams:
- Do a Web search to see if anyone has reported any problems with that site.
- Contact the website owner by telephone or email before you do anything.
- Make sure your browser is up to date.
- Browser filters can help detect fake websites.
- Beware of websites advertised in emails from strangers that you did not ask for.
- Do not give out personal information unless you are sure the site is secure and you know whom you are dealing with.
- Read disclaimers, notices, and terms and conditions before you do anything.
- If you choose to pay for a service, understand what you will receive for your money before you accept or sign anything.
If you come across a fraudulent website, report it to:
- your local police, and
- the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.