Fake lawyers' websites

 

     




Online : don’t rely on appearances


Fake lawyers’ websites look real, are well-designed and look polished. The so-called lawyers are courteous, polite and convincing. Some will even use the name of a person registered in the Directory of lawyers and invite you to check it. If in doubt, call the person back at the number listed in the Directory of lawyers or write to the e-mail address listed in the Directory (not the contact information the person gave you).

The administrators of those fake lawyers’ websites use many other strategies to lend credibility to their operations :

  • They are active on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
  • In immigration law in particular, they use the official logos of the governments of Québec and Canada or other official organizations.
  • They post positive testimonials on websites (e.g., user communities, blogs, Google) and social media platforms.
  • They reply systematically to victim testimonials and warnings, are reassuring and respond that services are provided by qualified and competent people.
  • They make people sign credible administrative documents.
     
 

IMMIGRATION LAW

ATTENTION ! Several fake lawyers’ websites target an international clientele seeking professional immigration assistance. In Quebec, only the following people can represent or advise you in an immigration process :

  • Lawyers who are members in good standing of a law society of a province of Canada;
  • Regulated immigration consultants who are members of the ICCRC;
  • Notaries who are members in good standing of the Chambre des notaires du Québec;
  • Any other person acting on a gratuitous basis.


Precautions to be taken

If the person identifies himself or herself as a regulated immigration consultant member of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC), make sure that his or her contact information matches those appearing on the ICCRC registry. If in doubt, call the person back at the number on the ICCRC registry (not the one he or she gave you). The ICCRC has developed a web page on fraud prevention.

As for lawyers, if the person claims to be a notary, make sure that he or she has a licence to practice as a notary by consulting the Roll of the Order of the Chambre des notaires du Québec. To verify if a person is a member in good standing of the Chambre des notaires, call the following number: 514 879-1793 or 1 800-263-1793 (toll-free).

If the person mentions that he or she will represent you free of charge, make sure that this is really the case. The person should not ask you to pay more than the administrative fees necessary to process your application, as provided by the government concerned :

  • Fee list (in Canadian dollars) for submitting applications to the Government of Canada (federal); or
  • Fee list (in Canadian dollars) for submitting applications to the Government of Quebec (provincial).

If a person asks for a donation or gift or offers to barter or volunteer for their services, they are not doing so for free.

Other useful resource is the Government of Canada’s Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s Internet, email and telephone scams help page, which reads:
It’s easy for criminals to copy a real website or build one that looks professional. Websites may claim to be official Government of Canada sites or their partners. Others may claim to offer special immigration deals or guaranteed high-paying jobs. They do this to trick people into paying them money.

 

 
     

 

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