Immigration scam warning issued by Abbotsford police

Police in Abbotsford, B.C., are warning people to beware of telephone and e-mail scams demanding money from apparently legitimate agencies.

Police warn people that scammers can make telephone calls appear to come from legitmate agencies

Dan Williams, a spokesman with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, warned that using prepaid cards in much like sending cash, and as soon as you give the code on the back to somebody, they can access the cash within minutes. "There is no reason why you'd be paying with prepaid card to a stranger. If someone's steering you towards prepaid cards, there's a 99.9 per cent chance it's a scam, especially if they are presenting themselves to be a government agency or institution," he said. (CBC)

Police in Abbotsford, B.C., are warning people to beware of telephone and e-mail scams demanding money from apparently legitimate agencies.

Yesterday, a man was robbed of $1,900 by a fraudster claiming to be calling from Citizenship and Immigration Canada. 

The caller demanded the victim pay $4,280 within the next seven hours or face immediate deportation. The conversation took place in both English and Punjabi, say police.

The victim checked caller ID and the number "appeared" to be legitimate so he went out and bought several pre-loaded credit cards as instructed by the scammer.

After the victim called the scammer back to give them the credit card information the scammer demanded the victim pay the remaining amount immediately.

That's when an employee at the business that was selling the cards became suspicious and called police, who contacted the victim and determined he had lost his cash to the scammer.

Const. Ian MacDonald warns fraudsters are able to "spoof" telephone numbers to make it look like they are calling from legitimate government agencies.

MacDonald says people have to be suspicious and says no legitimate agency would ever call or send an e-mail demanding money right away.

Similar versions of the scam have included callers claiming to be from utility companies such as BC Hydro or Revenue Canada, and demanding immediate payments by pre-paid credit cards.

The pre-paid cards are demanded by the scammers because as soon as you give the code on the back to somebody, they can access the cash within minutes.

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