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Phone scam targetting immigrants in Winnipeg

Monina Relano wants to warn new Canadians about a phone scam that targets them.
Monina Relano wants to warn new Canadians about a phone scam that targets them. Adrian Cheung/Global News

A phone scam is circulating around Canada, which specifically targets immigrants and new Canadians, has landed in Winnipeg.

Monina Relano almost became a victim. She received a call on Tuesday from a voice that claimed to be a representative of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). Relano emigrated the Philippines with her family and became a Canadian citizen 45 years ago.

The voice claimed Relano failed to fill out an immigration form properly and if she did not pay a fee of $2,490, she and her family would be deported.

“I just didn’t know what to say. I was really scared,” Relano said.

RELATED: Winnipeg Police warn phone call scams on the rise

Relano told the caller she would speak to her lawyer first and get back to them. The caller then threatened that RCMP would be heading to her door shortly, a bluff Relano called.

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“I told them ‘let the RCMP come to my door then’,” Relano added.

Daniel Williams of the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre said this scam targeting new Canadians and immigrants has gained traction. In 2015, there have been over 13,000 reports in Canada of phony calls. 880 people have been duped out of their money.

Williams said immigration officials will always mail a formal letter and will never demand money over the phone.

“Anytime, there’s someone forcing you to make a decision within 45 minutes, an hour, it can only be a scam,” said Williams.

Relano wasn’t tricked but wants to ensure other immigrants will not fall into the trap.

“I’ve been in this country for 45 years already and yet that phone call was a like a nightmare.”