Fraudsters have impersonated Sainte-Justine Hospital on Facebook in recent months, claiming to recruit health workers in Africa for illegal payments. A scheme that concerns the Quebec Ministry of Health.
“Our goal is to make your dreams of immigrating and living in the canadas come true. [sic] “, we can read on a fraudulent page entitled “CHU Sainte-Justine”.
By excluding French mistakes, the page may seem credible to someone who does not already know the Montreal hospital. It contains the logos, colors and photos of the real CHU Facebook page. The fraudsters even posted a video produced by the hospital online in which real employees talk about their daily lives.
The administrators’ last publication, in July, received 264 comments from people “interested” in the positions offered, including several from Algeria. The last responses from candidates date back to the end of August.
The CHU Sainte-Justine discovered the pot of roses this summer, when its staff began to receive messages and calls from candidates. “The fraudsters send the targeted foreign candidates a false employment contract and demand an amount of money in order to follow up on the hiring process,” explains the spokesperson for the establishment, Geneviève Martel.
“We would like to remind you that no employment contract for the CHU Sainte-Justine or elsewhere in the health network is offered by a third party, and that in no case is an amount of money required to be recruited by an institution in the health network. »
Fake contracts and other fees
The Quebec Ministry of Health was alerted in early August of the existence of the scheme. Since then, the Recrutement Santé Québec online platform has displayed a warning.
“Fraudsters are currently using the name Recrutement Santé Québec to solicit candidates. Be vigilant and contact us if in doubt about the origin of the request. Note that Recrutement Santé Québec email addresses always end with @msss.gouv.qc.ca or @recrutementsantequebec.ca,” reads the homepage.
According to a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, at least three people from the African continent received false employment contracts from CHU Sainte-Justine along with a request for payment of immigration fees. Fortunately, none of them paid. It is also reported that messages will be distributed in conjunction with the Department of Immigration to prevent further fraud.
As for the fraudulent Facebook page, it was still online Thursday. The CHU Sainte-Justine says it is in discussions with Meta to have it closed. In the meantime, the children’s hospital published a message on Instagram on August 25 urging its subscribers to report the page to the social media giant.
The CHU also filed a complaint with the City of Montreal Police Department and made a report to the Canadian Center for Cyber Security.
A common type of fraud
While this is a first for CHU Sainte-Justine, it is not the first health establishment whose name and reputation have been used in this way by fraudsters. At the beginning of the summer, the Oak Valley hospital network, north of Toronto, announced that it had also been targeted.
Fake jobs had been posted on all sorts of platforms, including the popular job search engine Indeed. Candidates were asked to complete online application forms, the fraudsters then conducted virtual job interviews and then sent fake employment contracts to their victims. Documents on which the real Oak Valley logo appeared would then require the payment of recruiting fees.
Also in Ontario, CBC revealed in 2018 that the name of the Grand River Hospital in Kitchener had been used by fraudsters for the same purpose.