Don’t Make the Same Mistake I Did!

Scam Alert: Mistakes made

My Scam Story in Canada

 

Moving to a new country can be an exciting and challenging experience, especially when one has to start from scratch. For many immigrants, getting a job is a significant achievement that comes with pride and a feeling of fulfillment. However, it is important to remain vigilant and cautious when it comes to online job offers, as not all offers are genuine, I learned this the hard way.

In my case, I had just moved to Canada and was eager to jump onto any opportunity that I thought would feed into what I was working towards becoming. I had just landed a job as an international relations analyst at Waterloo International. My experience about this can be read on my blog My first co-op in Canada. However, one month into the role, I received an offer through the university to work for UNICEF as a resource gatherer to help refugees in the country. I genuinely thought this was credible and I saw this as an opportunity to learn from experienced individuals and also use my skills and time to contribute to UNICEF’s vision.

Excited about this job offer, I applied for the job through Gmail, as that was the platform used to advertise it. An individual reached out to me asking for my personal information, such as my identification card, bank name, and phone number in order for me to be considered for the role. As naive as I was, I openly sent them all the requested details, and in return, they sent me a check for $3,500 Canadian dollars to the bank. The job I was given entailed banking checks that I used to purchase resources for the refugees that would be collected by a representative in the area I was staying and distributed accordingly, and I thought this was a legitimate opportunity to help and learn – the philanthropist in me was at work – haha.

However, three hours after I banked the check, I could not log into my bank account, and I thought it was just a technical issue because I had just got my account 2 weeks prior to this. Still relatively new to the entire economics of Canada and the way things run, I reached out to the individuals who had shared the job with me, and they assured me that it would take a couple of days for the funds to show in my account. Unbeknownst to me, my account had been frozen due to fraudulent activity associated with the check.

This went on for a day and I decided to go to the bank to try to understand why I could not get into my account. I was informed that there was a fraudulent activity associated with the account, and my debit card was taken away. The assumption by the bank was that I opened the account to deposit a fraudulent check. I was confused about what had just happened, and I took a moment to consult with my family and I learned that this could potentially have been a scam. 

It was only after some investigation that I discovered that the supposed UNICEF job offer was a front, and the individuals who reached out to me were using my account as the first point for their fraudulent activity. Thankfully, none of my money was taken, and after a week, my account was reopened, I was given a new card, but I was put on caution by Scotiabank due to the fraudulent activity.

This experience taught me a valuable lesson about being cautious and doing due diligence when it comes to online job offers. Scammers are always looking for opportunities to take advantage of unsuspecting individuals, and it is crucial to stay vigilant and not fall for their traps. It is essential to verify the legitimacy of job offers, especially those that require one to share personal information or bank account details.

While getting a job in a new country can be an exciting achievement, I would say remain vigilant when it comes to these job offers, they look lucrative, but not everything that glitters is gold. It is important to take the time to verify the legitimacy of such offers and not share personal information or bank account details without proper verification. This experience may have been demoralizing, but it has also taught me a valuable lesson that I will carry with me throughout my life.

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