The following blog post was written by Heidi Beyer, a faculty member at the Centre for Excellence in Immigrant and Intercultural Advancement.
Newcomers to Canada can be confused or panicked by information they receive in the mail, online, over the phone, or on their doorsteps. From time to time, newcomers may unwittingly become involved in transactions that they do not understand which could lead to financial difficulties and/or legal issues.
Helpfully, the Government of Canada identifies types of fraud that are particularly targeted at newcomers:
- People posing as Government of Canada staff and demanding the payment of fees with threats of deportation and loss of immigration status
- Fake emails that attempt to elicit funds or personal information and passwords
- Fake computer viruses that direct users to websites to enter personal information
- Fake prizes announced in phone calls or text messages (Government of Canada, 2016)
Language instructors working with newcomers are often regarded as trusted community contacts, and some learners look to their instructors to help them with problems and queries. For the benefit of all learners, practitioners should take the time to share and discuss these five key ways that newcomers can protect themselves from becoming the victims of fraudulent activity:
- Never send money or give credit card or online account details to anyone you do not know and trust.
- Log directly on to a website that you are interested in rather than clicking on links provided in an email.
- Do not hand over money or personal information, or sign anything until you have done your homework and checked the credentials of the company that you are dealing with.
- Do not agree to offers or deals right away. If you think you have spotted a great opportunity, insist on time to get independent advice before making a decision.
- There are no guaranteed get-rich-quick schemes - sometimes the only people who make money are the scammers. (Competition Bureau of Canada, 2015)
To report a scam, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
For financial literacy resources specifically designed for adult English language learners, see the Financial ESL Literacy Toolkit in the CEIIA's Resource Finder.
Government of Canada. (2016). What kinds of fraud should newcomers to Canada watch out for? Retrieved from: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/protection/fraud/newcomers.asp
Competition Bureau Canada. (2015). The Little Black Book of Scams. Retrieved from: http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/03074.html
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