P.E.I. warns of scams targeting newcomers

The PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada is warning of new phone and email scams that target immigrants.

Beware of calls from fraudsters claiming to be immigration officials, says Association for Newcomers

Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board never asks clients for money, it says. (CBC)

The PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada is warning of new phone and email scams that target immigrants.

The messages claim to be from the federal immigration officials and tell victims they owe money. The messages started across Canada a couple of weeks ago.

"What we're trying to do is put the word out to newcomers that the government doesn't operate by phoning people or emailing people," said Craig Mackie, the association's executive director. 

'See if it is real'

A handout the association has posted urges victims not to comply with any demands from callers claiming to be with the Immigration Review Board or RCMP, and to contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501. 

The P.E.I. Association for Newcomers to Canada has put up this anti-fraud poster. (Canadian Council for Refugees )

They can also contact the Association for Newcomers for help, Mackie said. 

No one on P.E.I. has yet to be targeted by phone, Mackie said, while one Island family was targeted by email. 

Email scams often try to trick newcomers into sharing personal and banking information by telling them they've won something or have been nominated for special immigration status.

"They can come in a variety of forms," Mackie said. "Be very careful and if you're unsure, please check with us or even better with government to see if it is real." 

With files from Brian Higgins