A new scam on social media is proving that some people can be heartless. People are actually trying to scam refugees that are in need of a new home by using social media and falsely offering them residency in Canada. Refugees have lost thousands of dollars because of this heartless scheme, according to CBC News.
The scammers have been impersonating Canada's Immigration Minister, Ahmed Hussen, on Facebook and are trying to get money from refugees hoping to escape to Canada. According to CBC, they falsely offer refugees permanent residency in Canada but for a price.
The fake Facebook profile of Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen used for these scams even misspells his name. The profile spells his last name with only one "s". It does use the same photos on Hussen's real official Facebook page.
Dana Adil, an Iraqi Kurd who is a refugee in Turkey, was one of the refugees targeted by this scam, according to CBC News. He said that he fled Iraq in January 2016 with his wife and their four children after his village was attacked. "I had to escape because I have two handicapped kids," Adil said.
Two weeks ago, he got a message on Facebook from someone pretending to be Canada's immigration minister. Adil was super excited about the potential to move to Canada.
"It was 2:00 am. I woke up and saw the message, and I became very, very happy about it," said Adil. However, the impersonator said that permanent residency in Canada came at a price.
"Do you have the necessary requirements? It will cost you 3550$ for your entire family including tickets," reads one of the texts. Adil said that he didn't have the money and in response, the scammer said, "I can't help you without money because immigration costs money … Canada has rules."
In Adil's case, he didn't end up paying the scammer because he didn't have the $3550 to give. However, his future remains uncertain. "I'm 35. I've never known a safe life — only conflict, war and struggle," he told CBC News. "I want to go somewhere to be safe and build a future for my family."
The fake profile was taken down after CBC News messaged it. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has not said whether it is investigating the incident. However, Canadian immigration officials do say that they haven't seen people try to impersonate a federal cabinet minister for scams before.
The real Ahmed Hussen has commented on this scam as well and is not at all happy that people are using his identity to scam refugees out of thousands of dollars. "I must condemn in the strongest terms the people who would target these vulnerable individuals," the minister told CBC News.
He also said that Canada has the capabilities to battle fraud and scams, and serious cases will be investigated by the RCMP and the Canada Border Services Agency.
Source: CBC News