Tia's Advice: Fraud Prevention

UVic Global Community Newsletter: March 11, 2019

Tia's Advice is a section of the UVic Global Community Newsletter that includes valuable information and important dates for undergraduate and graduate international students in the following categories: degree-seeking, incoming exchange, and incoming study abroad.

What is fraud?

Fraud is defined as wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain.

Attempted fraud is often referred to as a scam. There are many types of scams. They can happen over the telephone, through the mail, by text, by email, online, or in person.

Fraud is a serious problem, in Canada and around the world, but you can take the following actions to protect yourself: Recognize it. Report it. Reject it.

Recognize it.

Most scams ask you for money or sensitive personal information.

Sensitive personal information can be used to steal your identity. Once someone has stolen your identity, they can access your accounts and take your money.

Sensitive personal information includes your date of birth, Social Insurance Number (SIN), mailing address, financial account numbers, credit card information, usernames and passwords, driver’s license number, and passport number.

Scams can be very convincing. They often appear to come from well-known and trusted businesses, financial institutions, or government agencies. Sometimes they even appear to come from UVic!

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) website provides helpful information for recognizing scams.

Here are three examples of actual scams targeting international students:

Email scam

These fraudulent emails appear to come from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Right now, during income tax season, the possibility of receiving one of these fraudulent emails increases.

Tips: All emails from the CRA are sent in both English and French. The CRA will NEVER request sensitive personal information by email and will NEVER send or request e-transfers. The CRA only sends payments by direct deposit or by cheque in the mail. Find more tips on the CRA website.

Telephone scam

This telephone scam appears to come from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

The caller identifies themselves as an employee of IRCC. The student is advised to send prepaid credit cards, gift cards, money wires, or e-transfers as payment to avoid arrest or deportation from Canada.

Tip: IRCC will NEVER contact you by telephone to collect fees or fines or to demand payment so that you can avoid arrest, deportation, or other consequences. Find more tips on the IRCC website.

Online scam

There are fake rental ads posted on websites like Craigslist, Kijiji, and UsedVictoria.

Often, the person posing as a landlord pretends to be temporarily outside Canada and asks the prospective tenant to pay a security deposit or rent for the first month before letting them view the property.

Tip: NEVER send money to a landlord, property manager, or potential roommate before you meet them in person, receive a tour inside the property, and sign a Residential Tenancy Agreement. We recommend using the Places4Students UVic Portal to search for off-campus housing in Victoria. Landlords pay to post rental ads in this portal, so scam attempts are rare.

Report it.

When you recognize a scam, report it to the CAFC by phone at 1-888-495-8501 or online.

If you feel you have been the victim of fraud, report it to the CAFC and to your local police.

If you don’t know how to contact your local police, please visit or contact the International Student Centre (ISC).

Reject it.

Here are some more tips to avoid becoming a victim of fraud.

For email scams:

  • Be suspicious about emails that are not personalized.
  • Be cautious when opening email attachments and clicking on links in the content, regardless of who the email appears to be from.
  • Email scams are often called phish. Learn how to spot a phish.

For telephone scams:

  • If the caller is selling a product or service that sounds interesting, request information so you can verify the validity of the company or organization before making a purchase or payment.
  • Be suspicious about the promise of a valuable prize in return for a low cost purchase or payment in advance for shipping, taxes, etc.
  • Be suspicious about tight timelines for making a purchase or payment.
  • If you are suspicious, hang up.

In general:

  • Be suspicious of miracle cures and situations that sound too good to be true.
  • Be suspicious of situations where you must take action quickly or else face serious consequences.
  • Do not give your usernames and passwords (such as your UVic NetLink ID or your GCKey) to anyone, for any reason.
  • Keep your identity documents in a secure place, and do not carry them with you unless you need them.
  • Regularly review your financial accounts, and contact your financial institution immediately if you notice any incorrect transactions.
  • Immediately report any lost or stolen identity documents, credit cards, or debit cards.
  • Shred personal and financial documents before throwing them away.

If you think something might be a scam, visit or contact the International Student Centre (ISC). We can help you recognize, report, and reject fraud.

Important Dates

March 17: St. Patrick's Day.

March 18: Course registration for summer session begins. Check your registration date and time on UVic My Page in the Student Services section under the Registration tab.

April 1: April Fool's Day.

April 5: Last day of second term classes for all Faculties.

April 8: Second term exams begin for all Faculties.

April 19: Good Friday. This is a statutory holiday, so classes are cancelled and UVic services are closed.

April 22: Easter Monday. This is a statutory holiday, so classes are cancelled and UVic services are closed.

April 24: U-Pass privileges begin for summer session.*

April 27: Last day of second term exams for all Faculties.

* Incoming exchange students do not automatically receive U-Pass privileges but can opt in by purchasing a UVSS or GSS membership package.

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