Beware of fraud when preparing to come to Canada

Every year, many international students become victims of fraud through websites, email, phone calls, and social media. Fraudsters will offer false promises such as guaranteed entry into Canada or scholarships to study in Canada in exchange for financial and personal information.  

Currently, all Government of Canada scholarship programs, including their application process, are free of charge and typically run through online application forms hosted on Government of Canada websites.

Canadian authorities will never ask you to pay money or send prepaid credit and gift cards, money wires, or e-transfers through a specific private money transfer company for an application.

Please remain vigilant and stay informed about Government of Canada scholarship programs available through our website

Education agents

Some international students and their parents may choose to hire an education agent to help prepare for studying in Canada. The Government of Canada does not qualify, accredit, guarantee or endorse any particular agent. We recommend that you research the background, experience and expertise of the agent.

More information on hiring an education agent

Please note that education agents cannot provide advice on Canada’s immigration process. For more information on how to apply for a study permit, extend your stay as a student, or learn about other student-related visas, visit the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website.

Warning signs of fraud

Detecting fraud is not always easy. Here are a few things to look out for:

  • Someone asks you for money in order to access or complete an application process.
  • Someone asks you to send documents, personal information or payments through social media.
  • Someone guarantees you entry into Canada, a significant amount of money, a high-paying job, or a faster processing of an application.
  • There is a sense of urgency and pressure to act immediately without being given much information.
  • The website or email looks legitimate, but there are errors in spelling and grammar in the text.

There are many different types of fraud. Educate yourself about them.

How to protect yourself

You can protect yourself by taking the following precautions:

  • Make sure the websites you are visiting are secure. If they are secure, they will contain https:// at the beginning of the website address (URL) and a padlock or security lock icon on the login page.
  • Do not give out personal or financial information by email, on the phone, on social media or on a website unless you know it is secure and legitimate.
  • Make sure you apply privacy and safety filters. Ensure that your computer firewalls and virus or spyware checkers are up to date.
  • If you suspect a website or social media account of fraud, search for the name online to see if others have reported it as fake. Make sure you are using the correct website address.
  • Do not open website links in emails from strangers.

Remember, if the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

How to report fraud

Canadians should contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. For non-Canadians outside of Canada, gather all information about the fraud (documents, copies of emails, etc.) and report the incident to your local police.