BEWARE OF MY IMPOSTERS! — 5 TIPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM IMMIGRATION FRAUD
By CENK KEMAL HAZNACI
It was just another Friday on February 5, 2021. I was getting ready to wrap up the week and plan my weekend workload… Then a potential client sent me a message on Facebook with an attachment — a screenshot of an Instagram account with my photograph and name… His question was “Does this account belong to you?” My answer was a screaming NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Not just another Friday afterall…
THE INITIAL FAKE ACCOUNTS IN MY NAME
Here are my imposters’ initial social media accounts:
I immediately mobilized myself and everybody I know to report the fake accounts to Instagram and Facebook. Strength in numbers… The more reports, the faster the fake accounts would be taken down, I thought. Facebook and Instagram thought otherwise. They reviewed my reports and shockingly said “These accounts do not go against our community rules”. Go figure.
Yet, the fake facebook account became “permamently closed”. And I could no longer display the fake Instagram account when I tried to. Victory, I thought.
NOT SO FAST... THE SAGA CONTINUES
After an eventful Saturday, I was determined to relax on Sunday… It was around 6 PM when I checked my phone for the first time — a digital detox at its best…
I wished I had not checked my phone… Not only because I could do with a longer digital detox, but because of what I saw on that damn phone screen. A colleague, thankfully, noticed that the fake Instagram account only changed its name… It had not been gone in the first place… Here is the modified imposter account:
I reported and announced to friends, family, colleagues and all my social media following. It defies belief that Instagram and/or facebook would not take down these fake accounts immediately. But that’s for another ranting blog post…
The above account might be gone or have changed its name by the time you are reading this. New ones might have popped up. It is utterly beyond my or any other immigration professional’s reasonable control to know about or stop these. It is YOU who must be vigilant more than anyone. Here are some tips to stop Canadian immigration fraudsters in their tracks:
5 tıps to protect yourselves from immigration fraud
ALWAYS double check who you are dealing with. Make a Google search for that person’s name, and if you see other conflicting results like different phone numbers, different email address, different office address, different person in photos etc., contact all the people using that same name. You will find out which one is real soon enough.
In case it is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) with an ICCRC license to practice, go to ICCRC’s official website or download their app, then search the name in the public register. Click “Contact”, and then click “Contact” again. Here you go — you are presented with the REAL contact details of the person the imposters are claiming to be. Here are my details as they appear on the ICCRC public register:
NEVER pay anyone any money after talking to someone only on Instagram, Facebook, or WhatsApp. An immigration professional would NEVER conduct business and charge people solely on social media. A real immigration professional uses email as the main method of communication.
A professional immigration consultant or lawyer would NEVER use generic emails like @gmail.com or @yahoo.com to conduct business. I, for one, solely use the email domain @umkaimmigration.ca. Any communication coming from other domains are not me.
An immigration professional HAS TO and would ALWAYS ask clients to sign a Retainer Agreement before conducting ANY business.
Please protect yourselves, be vigilant and report the imposters to facebook and Instagram. Demand more from facebook and Instagram to deal with crooks!