Attempted immigration fraud leaves man shaken
Published Friday, September 21, 2012 9:53PM EDT
MONTREAL—Siddarth Kashyap is from India, but he's been living in Canada for the past 16 years and has held Canadian citizenship since 2006. He was very surprised when he got an urgent phone call last week.
“I answered the phone and the lady came on the line and she said we're calling from the Supreme Court of Canada and you have a legal fraud case against you,” said Kashyap.
He says the woman claimed he hadn't filled out an FCN, a Foreign Citizenship Number form, and a court date was already scheduled in Ottawa for the following week.
He would have to travel to India, get the required documents, and pay a Canadian lawyer to handle the file; otherwise he'd face the consequences.
“I was very stressed out, I was frantic, I called my wife. They really build it up to the point that you were going to lose your job, you were going to be deported, your property was going to be seized, like I'm some big criminal or something like that.”
Kashyap says the woman offered him access to an attorney and gave him a number to call. When he called and told the man he couldn't travel to India on such short notice, the man suggested he pay a penalty instead: $2,175.
Kashyap was prepared to write a certified cheque to the Canadian government but was told that wasn't an option.
“In this case you have to send money to an immigration officer in India using Western Union,” Kashyap said he was told.
That raised a red flag.
Kashyap got off the phone and made calls to the Supreme Court of Canada and Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Both confirmed he'd been given false information. He called the man back one more time.
“He comes on the phone and I straight out tell him, 'Look man, don't do this—you're screwing up people's lives.’”
In a statement, Citizenship and Immigration Canada called it "despicable activity" and says anyone who feels they've been a victim of a scam should contact the RCMP anti-fraud centre.