The Embassy warns the public against fraudulent entities posing as an immigration law firm, visa travel company, organization, or governmental agency offering professional support to immigrate to another country. The offer may cover a range of immigration reasons, such as for study, scholarship, guaranteed high-paying jobs, or permanent residence.
These entities’ fraudulent activities may include the following:
- The offenders use social engineering methods (manipulation to perform actions or divulge confidential information) when calling the victims on the phone; sending emails or letters that include false or fake documents and application forms; or routing them to fake or look-alike websites that are under control of the culprits.
- Documents that have to be filed and provided by the victims can be assessments for language ability (i.e. IELTS test – International English Language Testing System), birth certificate and passport copies, academic certificates, working experience, and international education credentials. The offenders provide links to websites and portals where the victims have to upload the required documents.
- Victims are pressured and persuaded to pay fees and installments (i.e. for the administrative processes, acceptance of the certificates, online examinations) and to conduct wire transfers, to deposit money into an individual’s personal bank account, or to transfer money through a specific private money transfer company in advance.
- In some cases, fees are requested to allegedly participate in a training course as part of the application process, thus the offenders request the payments for the travel and accommodation expenses for the training camp.
In recent cases, persons from Africa have been targeted and victimized by such schemes. Victims conducted payments for administrative process of up to US$10,000 but did not get the visa or documents they applied for.
The Embassy reminds the public, especially those who are applying for visa and residence/work permits in other countries, to exercise vigilance in all online transactions.