The Canadian government is warning international students to beware of thieves who pretend to be immigration officials.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada published a special alert Dec. 15 describing the scam and urging students not to be fooled.

According to federal officials, thieves call an international student pretending to be an immigration agent. The fake agent tells the student they are about to be arrested and instruct the student to do various things. According to the alert, some students have transferred thousands of dollars to the thieves.

“If someone posing as an immigration official threatens to arrest or deport you, to suspend your account if you don’t pay money or give your personal information, or tells you that your visa or immigration status is in jeopardy, it is a scam,” reads the alert posted on the website of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

“(Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) will never contact you in person, online, or by telephone to collect fees or fines to avoid deportation or other consequences.”

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