More than a year after the emergence of a website that has Canadians sharing personal information, passports and credit card information, thinking they’re on a federal government site, clients continue to be duped by the company.
Passport Online provides what it calls application services, to help Canadians fill out a form that’s available for free from the government. It’s the equivalent of sitting with someone and telling them details to fill in the federal government passport application.
It is the top result on Google when searching with a variety of terms, including “renew Canadian passport online.”
While looking for passport renewal, unaware clients clicked on the site with a blue and white screen and a Canadian flag in the corner that had them filling out personal questions and sharing credit card information for an amount comparable to passport renewal, well before any of them realize they were not on a Canadian government website.
In a statement released by the Federal Government, Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship said, “we, of course, care and [are] on guard every single day for the integrity of our citizenship system. We don’t want anything to take away from that.”
He added the government has a 1-800 number for complaints.
“From time to time we do find individuals who commit immigration fraud, citizenship fraud, to try to take advantage of people,” Hussen said.
“We will work…very closely with our security agencies, law enforcement officials, to tackle any citizenship or immigration fraud that we come across.”
Now a former employee of Passport Online is sounding the alarm about the company.
Admitting having preyed on Canadians who overpay for the service, the former employee shared warnings about Passport Online and Pardons and Waivers of Canada, which have the same owner.
The businesses operate at 515 Consumers Rd., Toronto. Employees there fill out applications for Canadian passports or applications for convicted criminals seeking pardons or waivers so they can travel to the United States despite their record.
The companies charge hundreds and thousands of dollars per application.
The Central Ontario BBB, which handles complaints for the Greater Toronto Area, says there are 72 complaints about Passport Online and 26 about Pardons and Waivers of Canada.
These complaints ranged from refund issues to sales practices and service.