Victim loses 'thousands' in phone scam alleging immigration complaint

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Not even the police are immune to the income tax scam

A man is out thousands of dollars after falling prey to a scam involving calls from people claiming to be from Immigration Canada and Halifax police.

Halifax Regional Police said Thursday they received a report from a 23-year-old man who said he was contacted by an alleged Immigration Canada employee about a complaint against him and that he needed legal representation costing hundreds of dollars.

That call was followed up by a call from another person claiming to be a Halifax police officer who advised the victim to send the money or be arrested.

"Basically said he was in trouble and said the trouble would be rectified if he handed money, which he did, and then called us. It was thousands," said Halifax Regional Police Const. Dianne Penfound.

"It appeared they were working in tandem."

The number on the man's call display was a general inquiries telephone number for Halifax Regional Police, which police believe was generated by a computer program.

Cases on the rise

Police said they are seeing an increase in this kind of fraud, in which victims are threatened with action if they don't immediately send money.

Neither Halifax police nor Immigration Canada request money or make threats over the phone. Anyone getting these types of calls should hang up immediately and not engage with the callers.

"First and foremost, police don't ask you to hand over money to make a problem go away. That would be a red flag for sure," Penfound said.

She recommended that anyone who is still concerned should call Immigration Canada and Halifax police to ask if the call is legitimate.

Halifax police are asking people to call them only if they have lost money or provided personal information to the scammers.