A website impersonating the Canadian Immigration department and promising free work permits and visa lottery is a HOAX.
Clicking the link to the website opens up a page containing a message which states that the visa program dubbed ‘Canadian Green Card Lottery’ has been in place since 1993 and offers 85,000 lottery tickets each year.
“Work in Canada with a Job of Your Choice For Free throughout the 2 years program. Canada Work Permit Program Enables the chance of living in the CANADA Comfortably and Free. Applicants are to fill the form below and click on Apply,” reads the message.
The form requires the user to fill it out with personal information such as name, gender telephone number and email address. The form also requires users to indicate their academic course and their ‘work category’.
Clicking on the “Apply” button directs the user to another page containing a congratulatory message. “Your application for the ongoing End of the Year CANADA Work Permit Visa Lottery has been received,” reads the message.
The message also contains instructions for the user to answer three multiple-choice questions about their age, employment status and which Canadian state they wish to live work or study in.
Once the user answers the questions, a new page loads containing a message which informs them that they have qualified for a chance to win the said lottery visa card. However, the message contains further instructions on how to obtain the lottery visa card. The first step is for the user to click on the provided “Share to Continue” button to share the information with 15 friends or 5 groups via WhatsApp.
This sequence mirrors many phishing scams that are modelled as promotional giveaways aimed at mining people’s personal information. Scammers also use tactics similar to these to carry out click fraud, a common scheme that lures users to bogus websites with the promise of a reward.
After sending the invitation, the next step is to click the “Green Card” button. “If you do not complete this step correctly, you will not Get the Canadian Green Card,” reads a warning at the bottom of the page.
The URL of the impostor website – https://cutt.ly/Canada-Work-permit-2021-2022- has been shortened and customised using Cutt.ly, a URL shortener that allows the slimming down of long links. However, this can sometimes be used by spammers to mask the identity of the landing page URL.
A search on the official Canadian government immigration website does not contain any information about the said visa lottery.
The WhoIs information of the impostor website shows that it was registered on July 21 in 2020. On the other hand, the WhoIs information of the legitimate Canadian immigration website shows that it was registered on November 25 in 2002.
The Canadian embassy refuted the website, with the statement, “we can confirm that the information shared is not from Canada’s Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) nor the High Commission of Canada”.
It goes on to say that the official website for all essential and official information about visa applications is the Department of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
Through the official website, the embassy also provided a way for members of the public to identify and report fraud.
BO NEWS has examined a website impersonating the Canadian Immigration department and offering free visas in its name, and found it to be a HOAX.