Letter after phone call from Service canada is a scam?
I ended my job with cause (used last resort of quitting after all other options were exhausted) on Oct 15.
Shortly after, I applied for Employment Insurance as well as sending by mail a detailed explanation of my job situation. Then in mid November (after receiving final vacation pay from the job) I see in my service canada account that my application was reviewed and on the 25th, they made a decision and that I'm approved for benefits. I followed all guidelines, and I recently received pay from EI.
Now this is where the issue begins:
About a week ago from today, I received a phone call from a person named Pascal asking me to call a private Toronto Ontario number. When I researched the number, it belonged to a cell phone run by Bell Canada. I already predict fishy-ness because its very rare at best that the government initiates things by phone before paper unless they are asked to call. At that point, I used the government's e-services to request a call. They didn't get back. Probably because I didn't complete the form (because I didn't know what the call was about).
Fast forward to today.....
I received a letter in my mail that came from a Service Canada envelope. When I opened it, the header showed a case number with "Protected A" above it, and its source address is:
Integrity Services - Services d'integrite
PO BOX 201
NORTH YORK ON M3J 0J1
And it asks me to attend a phone interview for January 4th 2021 to talk to the same person to determine my entitlement to the benefits.
I believe this whole thing is an attempted scam for the following reasons:
1. The government of Canada website states that it is rare for the government to initiate an action by phone call first. Normally they contact people by mail.
2. I searched public government databases for the said person and phone number one at a time and no records were found.
3. Since the first attempted phone call from the said person, I made in a service request for a call back from an official agent using the online e-services about this matter and never got a call. Before this, I used the same service for other E.I. matters (before I got approved), and I did get a call back from a legitimate agent within a few days.
4. This letter suggests a re-evaluation of my E.I eligibility when it has already been determined a few weeks ago that I am eligible for E.I, and nothing about money or job status has changed since the day I quit (october 15).
5. The only phone number offered that I could use to respond to the person is a long distance private cell phone number in Toronto (I'm not located in the GTA). I determined this based on phone number research. It did not provide me with a 1-800 or 1-888 number (or the like) to call. Also, when I attempted to call the number, I get 5 rings and a voicemail from a person claiming to be from Service Canada. Normally when I call a government body, I get an automated system at first that introduces me to what I am calling with options I can choose by pressing the corresponding number on my phone.
6. I attempted to locate information about the said source of the letter "Integrity Services" and all I could find that the government labeled it as a branch to "service canada". Additionally, the address also includes a P.O. Box Number. Google Maps has no information on such a place.
7. The letter addressing and page format is odd. I'm addressed as "Madam, Sir:" instead of "Dear Michael," and the bottom of the first page is "Page 1 of 2", the reverse of the first page is "Page 2 of 2" which reads:
The second page at the bottom is labelled "Page 1 of 1" and nothing is on the back of it.
Anyways, I am showing everyone the letter and I have blacked out my personal information (name and address and case number).
What do you guys think? Is this person legitimate? and is the phone number 647-376-6924 valid for Service Canada?
I also contacted 1-800-o-canada twice about the matter and both times they suggested that I should file a report with the anti-fraud center which I did both times online. One of the agents thought the number itself was fishy because its a long-distance private number.
I also checked my EI records online and I am still able to fill out my E.I. reports and my service canada account shows I'm still eligible for EI.
I also did put in another request for a call back from another Service Canada employee via online again so I can determine if this person is being fraudulent or not, but maybe if someone else here has a similar experience, they can tell me beforehand if this person attempted to commit fraud or not.
So what do you guys think? Should I safely assume this letter and the person listed in it is 100% fraud? or should I continue to worry that my EI will be cut-off until an official EI agent calls me back?
Reason: removed name