Tia's Advice: Fraud Prevention

UVic Global Community Newsletter: March 5, 2018

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/visiting.

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. Stop 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, passport number and mother’s maiden name.

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 recent scams targeting international students.

Email scam

This email scam appears to come from Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

The subject of the email is Tax Refund Notification. The content of the email is as follows:

Dear Taxpayer,

After the last annual calculation of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of $521.51.

Your Refund Reference Number is: Ref/0502REF_ID/2017.

Refund Amount: $521.51

To access the form for your tax refund, please Click Here. (In the email, this link opens an online form that asks for sensitive personal information.)

2017 Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Support

CRA will NEVER request sensitive personal information by email. Also, CRA does not send emails in only English or French. All emails from CRA are sent in both official languages.

Telephone scam

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

The caller identifies themselves as an IRCC officer and tells the student that there is an arrest warrant in their name. The student is advised to obtain an immigration lawyer or else face arrest and deportation from Canada. The student is instructed to transfer money to obtain an immigration lawyer.

IRCC will NEVER contact you by telephone and demand payment to avoid arrest, deportation or other consequences.

Online scam

Fake landlords post rental ads on websites including UsedVictoria and Craigslist. Sometimes they pretend to be temporarily outside Canada. They ask students to pay a security deposit or rent for the first month before they can view the property in person or get the keys.

NEVER send money to a landlord if you have not met them in person or viewed the property. We recommend using the Off-Campus Housing Listings maintained by UVic because landlords pay to post rental ads 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.

Stop it.

Here are some things you can do 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 will 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. We can help you recognize, report and stop fraud.

Important Dates

March 8: Time tickets emailed to students who are eligible to register for summer session courses.

March 11: Daylight Saving Time (DST) starts, so set your clocks forward one hour.

March 17: St. Patrick's Day.

March 19: 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.

March 30: Good Friday. This is a statutory holiday, so classes will be cancelled and UVic services will be closed.

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