Overseas fraud: an increasing threat to the safety of Canadians

Although most Canadians are aware of fraud attempts carried out by companies or individuals in foreign countries, many are still victimized and cheated out of merchandise, services and money.

Commercial or professional scams 

Personal scams 

Scams can not only cause great financial losses, but many can also be a serious threat to the personal safety of the victims. Many victims are convinced to travel to a foreign country to complete a business transaction, accept a job, get married or to try to recover money sent to the scammer. This can result in violent situations, including kidnappings and forced imprisonment. Canadian consular officials may not be able to help you.

Warning: increasingly common and sophisticated scams

Every day, more Canadians request consular assistance after a scam has caused them to fear for their safety. The number of victims will continue to rise. In many countries, con artists operate without consequences because local authorities often do not have the physical or financial resources needed to combat Internet crimes.

Organized fraud networks are developing more and more innovative and sophisticated scams to deceive and extort money from their victims. They conduct extensive searches to create credible documents, complete profiles of fake businesses, medical reports, or falsified export certificates. The names and logos of reputable organizations, governments and government agencies are often used illegally. Websites that appear very convincing are also falsified.

Some con artists pretend to be Canadian embassy staff, such as consular officers and even ambassadors. If you are approached by someone claiming to work for a Canadian government office abroad who suddenly offers to help you, verify his or her identity by contacting the embassy or consulate where he or she claims to be employed.

Protect yourself

Carefully investigate any unsolicited business proposal before you send any money, provide a service or merchandise, or make travel arrangements.

Travelling to meet someone you met online

Stay up to date on current scams, find additional information and report incidents by visiting the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website.

If you need help

Contact the nearest Canadian government office abroad or call our Emergency Watch and Response Centre at +1 613 996 8885 (call collect where possible) if you:

The Government of Canada cannot intervene in private legal affairs, and has no influence over another country’s legal proceedings. However, consular officials can provide you with a list of lawyers in the country in question. For more information on the services offered by Canadian consular officials, visit our Assistance page. 

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