Ottawa Police warn of scam targeting international students

A previously reported scam is making the rounds again, according to Ottawa Police, and they’re warning people to be on the lookout for it.

This is another scam wherein the victim gets an unsolicited phone call threatening legal action, and is told to pay in gift cards in order to avoid consequences.

In this case, the scam targets international students, and the scammer claims to be calling from the federal Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

The victim is accused of a crime in their home country, usually money laundering, and told they will be deported unless they pay a lawyer. The scammer then tells the victim to buy pre-paid gift cards to cover the legal fees.

Making matters worse, the call display number is spoofed, and it appears to be coming from a phone number for the Ottawa Police: 613-236-1222. Police remind you that a legitimate call from them will not display that number on your phone.

Police say you should always be wary of anyone calling you with demands for money or personal information. Tell the caller you will call them back and hang up. Research the phone number that called you and the agency the caller claims to be from.

Police believe these calls are coming from outside the country.

Anyone who has lost money as a result of this scam is asked to contact the Ottawa Police Service to make a report at 613-236-1222, ext. 7300. You can also make a report online at https://www.ottawapolice.ca/en/contact-us/Online-Reporting.asp