How to help Refugees Avoid Common Scams

Jennifer Kett

Jennifer Kett

We’ve all likely heard that scams are becoming more common and more sophisticated than ever, targeting unsuspecting people through texts, emails, or phone calls. According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, more than 20,000 Canadians were scammed the first half of this year alone!

Scams and frauds can be even more challenging to spot for those who are new to Canada and unfamiliar with standard government or banking processes.
What should we do, as sponsors, to inform but not create fear?  Perhaps opening up a conversation to share common red flags, ways to protect personal information and how to respond if targeted. Here are a few tips to consider sharing:


    • The Government, including the CRA, will never do any of the following:
      • Use aggressive language, threaten to deport you or arrest you by phone or email
      • Collect fees over the phone, ask for financial information, or ask you to provide prepaid credit cards, gift cards, bitcoin, or e-transfer
      • Give or ask for personal or financial information by email or send a link asking you to fill in an online form with personal or financial details.
      • Send you an email or text with a link to your tax refund.


    • If you receive an email or text that looks suspicious:
      • Delete it. Legitimate companies don’t send bulk emails to people they do not know.
      • Don’t click on any links or give any information about yourself.
      • If you have any doubts about where the email came from, contact your bank or the government agency to verify authenticity.


    • Never give access to your computer to someone you did not contact for help


    • Avoid responding to calls about winning fake prizes that ask for personal information


Why not add this orientation to your sponsor training goals?  It could make a difference to a newcomer’s well-being.