Police warn public of “online Pardon” scam”
CBC News warns of “Fake Passport Scam”
“Pardon Pros” the latest company to close after taking a lot of money from clients.
Attention: Some Pardon firms (especially commission-based companies that spend a lot of money advertising on Google) will say anything to sell you their services and get your credit card number. If they don’t start by making sure you are even eligible to apply, that is a big red-flag. Scam companies simply take your money and then email you some forms to complete, print and sign, along with a List of Things to Do. They will then expect you to take time off work and go stand in line at numerous government offices in order to obtain all the required documents in person to mail back to them. And then one day you could mail everything to the company, only to see them go out of business, and keep all of the money you paid them to do next to nothing, along with your $657.77 PBC filing fee. All applications are then discarded and the company is back in business a few days later with a new company name, a new website and a new phone number. We have seen this happen many times because our electronic fingerprinting office fingerprints for competitors and keeps track of where the fingerprints are being sent and who the company owners are.
Non Profit Agency? Don’t be fooled by companies that say they are “non profit” but have fees the same or higher. Or companies that have paid website builders to set up a “non-profit” shell company pretending to certify a company as being honest and trustworthy. If you do an Who-is search you will find the shell company is just another run of the mill website that is not registered with the CRA.
Real or Virtual Office? Don’t be fooled by companies that have a Virtual Office, like the address of this so-called Edmonton company: 10180 – 101 Street, Suite 3400, Edmonton, Alberta, T5J 3S4, or by companies that post fake 5-star Reviews to cover up all the real 1-star Reviews, and spend a fortune on Google and Facebook ads, always in search of new victims.
Fraud Alert – Top 13 Myths and Lies About Getting a Pardon or US Waiver:
1) Pardons are coming to an end soon. This is a long-standing lie that some pardon companies use to trap more victims. They say things like “PARDONS MAY BE ELIMINATED IN CANADA” and “Apply Now Before It’s Too Late!” The fact of the matter is, in March of 2012 the Harper government made changes to the system which made child sex offenders and multiple Indictable offenders who have been sentenced to 2 years or more three times or more, no longer eligible to receive a Pardon/Record Suspension, and the waiting times increased from 3 and 5 years to 5 and 10 years. Everyone else can still get a Pardon after the 5-year waiting period for Summary offenses, and the 10-year waiting period for Indictable offenses. Another lie that is gaining momentum is a single DUI conviction can effect travel to the USA. This is only true if you drive to the border impaired and smelling of alcohol.
2) You can get a Canada Pardon or US Waiver in 3 to 4 months. Many companies are lying to people saying they can get a Pardon or Waiver in 3 to 4 months, and 8 months later they will say, we meant the Parole Board or Homeland Security will process it within 4 months, and they always fail to mention it will take 2 to 4 months to gather all the paperwork from government agencies that simply will not rush documents no matter how much you pay the company processing your application. For the most up-to-date processing times Click Here.
3) If you pay now you can be grandfathered into the system. Some companies will say if you pay them hundreds or thousands of dollars now they can grandfather you into the system so that when “Pardons are no longer granted in the future” you will still be able to get a Pardon. This is totally false information and odds are the company saying this does not plan to be in business with the same name in the future.
4) There is a Free Pardon. Some companies will say they can get you a “Free Pardon“, or they will offer you a “Free Starter Package” or a “Free Guide“, or they will say “you automatically qualify for the free Canada Pardon and arrest purge service.” This is just the first part of their Bait and Switch operation. They will then draw you into giving them your credit card number and then you’re hooked. And if you don’t give them your credit card number they call and hassle you until you give in. Also, their “low monthly payments” often dramatically increase over time.
5) Low monthly fees will still generate quick results. Many companies will offer you a ridiculously low monthly fee. This again is part of a Bait and Switch operation. Yes, you can make low monthly payments of $40 to $60 a month, but after the firm sends you to be fingerprinted nothing will be done with your application until 12 to 18 months later, after they have collected their administration fee from you. Note: Paying the “full price” for a Pardon or Waiver now will not guarantee you will not have to pay more fees in the future, such as the $657.77 Parole Board filing fee or the $585.00 US Department of State Filing Fee. This type of fraudulent information is often used by other companies to draw you into buying their services.
6) US Customs has access to a data base that shows them who has received a Pardon. This is an old lie that companies still use to sell you a very expensive US Waiver and then expensive US Waiver Renewals for the rest of your life. If your Pardon is done right and before you obtain a Passport then all trace evidence showing that you were ever arrested, charged, fingerprinted, convicted and pardoned is removed off every system US Customs has access to.
7) All Pardons firms do Pardons the same way and the results are the same. This too is false. For instance, many Pardon and Waiver firms are not licensed to take and submit fingerprints to the Ottawa RCMP. Also, many firms do not have a Commissioner For Oaths or a Notary on staff who can certify I.D. and other documents. This means you may have to go to police stations twice to submit and then pick-up a Local Police Records Check. Also, many other firms will not take the time to see that all trace evidence is removed from all the systems US Customs has access to or explain how to navigate US Customs. Perhaps this is because they want you to get nabbed at the border and then they expect you will come back to them and pay for a US Waiver and then Waiver Renewals. Generally speaking, when a Pardon is granted the information is removed from CPIC and APIS, but that does not guarantee you will be able to enter the US because if there is any trace evidence left behind or you say the wrong thing your vacation or business trip can come to a very sudden halt.
8) Some Pardon and Waiver firms know people in high places who can rush applications through. Some companies will tell you they know people in Local Police Stations, Court Houses, the Parole Board of Canada and Homeland Security who will rush your application if you pay them a higher fee. This is another lie, as all documents in all government agencies are processed on a first come first served basis. The only exception to this rule is when there is a problem that requires special attention, which in some cases when dealing with the same person for years can be resolved quicker. Also, the Parole Board is no longer prioritizing any Pardon application for any reason, due to the extremely high volume of priority requests that have been received in the past. NOTE: Companies that still claim to have a Priority Service fee that assures a Pardon or Waiver application will be completed and granted faster than normal by the authorities, in our opinion, are committing fraud. And, the second lie to people who paid the Priority Service fee is usually, “the RCMP lost your fingerprints”. This buys the company another 3 to 6 months.
9) All Pardon and Waiver firms are regulated by the government and are investigated by the police if they are committing fraud. The fact of the matter is, Pardon and Waiver firms are no different than many other firms who are getting away with committing fraud and stealing money from people. And if you call the police and tell them you gave some company $2400 for a Pardon and a Waiver and you received nothing and they are no longer in business, odds are you will hear things like “buyer beware” and “that sound’s like a civil matter” and “we just don’t have the resources to investigate civil matters like that.”
10) All first time US Waiver applicants can get a 5-Year Waiver, and many can get a September Letter, which is like a Permanent Waiver. Unfortunately, after Homeland Security made changes to the application process in August of 2007, many first time Waiver applicants with convictions within the last 15 years have only been granted a 1-Year Waiver, and recent Indictable and/or Trafficking offenders (with convictions less than 5 years ago) often only get a 6 month Waiver. Also, renewal applications that have 1 or more Indictable or illicit drug offenses within the last 10 years, are usually only granted a 2 or 3 year Waiver the second time around. As for a “September Letter”, this is a new name for an old letter the ARO sends you when your offenses Do Not require you to obtain a US Waiver, such as having convictions for Youth charges, 266cc Assault, Assault with a Weapon, Possession of a Weapon, Mischief, Fail to Comply, Obstruct Police Officer, Fail to Attend Court, Impaired Driving, Reckless Driving, Failure to Blow, Uttering a Forged Document, and/or 1 Summary offense such as Theft Under. We believe a company on the West coast that specializes in getting September Letters for a fee of $2000 created a fake Blog with a lot of misinformation in order to generate sales. And for a company to brag that they get a lot of such letters suggests they will take your money even when they know for a fact you do not need a Waiver, for having 2 DUI’s and an Assault conviction, or for just 1 Theft Under charge and a Failure to Comply. To see an example of such a September Letter CLICK HERE. Note: DHS policy may change regarding such matters.
11) If the firm offers a 100% money back guarantee that means they have to give my money back if I don’t receive a Pardon or Waiver. Many firms will tell you if you don’t get a Pardon or a Waiver they will give you your money back. However, in the fine print they will say you will only get your money back if you are fully eligible to receive a Pardon or Waiver. If you are fully eligible to receive a Pardon; meaning you have a clean Local Police Records Check, all your fines have been paid and your dispositions have been met, you have no pending charges and they are satisfied with your Step 8 Rehabilitation Letter, then the Parole will have no reason to deny you a Pardon. If you have no outstanding warrants for your arrest and you have a 5-year crime-free history and no sexual assault with a minor or major drug trafficking offenses, then Homeland Security will not have any valid reason to deny you a US Waiver.
12) Pre-9/11 US Border Crossing Cards Cannot Be Replaced. We have heard that some companies are telling clients this in order to sell them a much higher priced I-192 Waiver application, which then has to be renewed at the same price. This information is false, as border crossing cards can be replaced by filing an I-824 application, along with some supporting documents.
13) US Waivers are granted for a maximum of 10 Years. This is a lie started by a company based in Ontario in order to sell more US Waivers. The maximum US Waiver is good for 5-Years.
Why Choose Canada Pardons & US Waivers? (Formerly Alberta Pardons)
1) We were the first Paralegal firm in Canada to be granted permission by the Ottawa RCMP to take and submit electronic (biometric) fingerprints directly to the RCMP. This means we had to obtain the highest level of security clearance that a Canadian company can acquire. Our business has been registered with the BBB for over 14 years and in that time there has not been any complaints. We guarantee that you will get a Canada Pardon as long as you are eligible to receive one and we don’t take on clients who we feel will not. Our Fingerprint Office Manager Leigh Nielsen has trained hundreds of police officers to take fingerprints, and she is one of only two civilians in Canada that is licensed to read fingerprints. We have been in this business for 20 years; not like dozens of Numbered Companies that set up flashy websites offering “limited time specials” super-fast service, with fake testimonials, and a phony “Virtual” office. Such companies don’t last long. When their sales go down and the work piles up and their phones keep ringing from angry clients calling and demanding answers and they rack up dozens of complaints on the BBB, they simply shut down their website and disconnect their phone lines, only then to relocate and set up another Website with a different business name and a new BBB membership. We know this because they send people to our office to be fingerprinted and we keep track of the business owners. Here is a list of some of the failed and now closed Pardon and Waiver companies/websites that have recently gone out of business, and some of which are now operating under a different company name:
http://www.canadapardononline .com – domain name now available
http://www.pardonsandwaivers .com – another failed Website (illegally copied our FAQ sections – now redirects to another company that has a familiar pop-up ad)
http://www.canadapardons .com – was 404 Not Found error – now a new company under the same name that implies you have to attend a Parole Board Hearing, which is not true.
http://www.ministerspermit .com – domain name now available
http://www.pardon .ca – shows sponsored listing links only
http://www.pardons .com – redirected to http://www.pardons.org/ – Are both now Pardons Canada.com
http://www.pardonsonly .com – domain name now available
http://www.pardons .net – now shows sponsored listing links only
http://www.canadapardons .net – now redirects to canadianpardons. ca
http://www.canadianpardons .net – now owned by another company under the same name
http://federalpardons .ca – 404 Not Found error
http://www.canadapardonsnow .com – domain name not found
http://www.waiversandpardons .com – domain name now available
http://www.CanadaPardonsPro .com – server cannot be found
http://pardonsgranted .com – domain up for re-sale
http://pardonsexperts .com – parked by past web host
http://expresspardons .com – was operated by Andrew Stanley – now redirects to another company
http://www.enterpriselegal .ca – redirects to another site
http://pardonsdirect .com – now a Chinese company
http://canadianpardonservices .com – domain now for sale
http://pardonpros .com – domain now for sale
Beware of Richard Craig Breslin
2) We serve our clients in their best interests, not the company’s most profitable interests and the U.S. Government’s most profitable interests. Simply put, if you don’t need a U.S. Waiver in order to enter the U.S., we sure as heck won’t try to sell you one, which will save you thousands of dollars and a lot of grief down the road.
3) We provide high quality service that is unparalleled in this special field of Paralegal services, and that is why many past clients, police stations, court houses, lawyer’s firms, businesses and even US Customs refer people to our office, and we don’t need to spend a fortune on advertisements.
4) We are Trained, Licensed and Certified Paralegal Services Professionals, not people with just a business card and a just-add-money-and-stir Website. Our business has been registered with the BBB for going on 14 years and has not received any complaints.
5) We rush all applications. That is just the way we do things. And we will not charge you a fee to prioritize your application unless we have to work overtime, for instance, because you walked in at the last minute and don’t want to come back because you live out of town. Many other companies will charge hundreds of dollars for what they call “priority service“, and say that they process those applications differently. And if you ask them what that means they will say things like, “we just rush everything through.” If a company guarantees they will get you a Pardon in a few months, then ask to get that in writing, and then watch how fast they back track. The fact is, RCMP Certified Records, Court Records and Local Police Records are all processed on a first-come-first-served basis. The same goes at the Parole Board, who will tell you it is now taking 1 to 2 years to process a Pardon application. In fact some companies just “rush” you their Pardon application and a fingerprint form, along with a cover letter telling you what all you have to do quickly, before they will mail your application to the PBC. This same thing happens with Waiver applications. We have seen many other companies simply give the applicant a checklist of all the documents they need to attach to their Waiver application, with no further assistance and no draft letters or editing services. And their Priority Rush Urgent Service is simply to start the file by sending clients to our Alberta Fingerprinting Services office to be biometrically fingerprinted. All other clients are usually put on ignore for a year or so, and then when they start to panic, they are sold the “Priority Rush Urgent Service“, which simply starts the company’s regular application process.
6) We do not post fake testimonials. Our Testimonials are from real people who have emailed us a quick thank-you, after we emailed them saying their Pardon or Waiver was granted and asking them to confirm their mailing address. We also send email updates, keeping our clients informed throughout the process which is very much appreciated.
7) We do not offer “limited time specials”. Remember, when a merchant practically begs you to “buy now” it’s because they don’t want you to shop around, because they know you will find a better product or service elsewhere.
8) Unlike other companies trying to cash in on our good name, we do not pretend to be another company by registering the same domain name (albertapardons) with just a different extension like .net. .ca. and .org.
9) We do not spend a fortune on advertising, as we get “tons” of referrals from satisfied customers, police stations, courthouses, lawyer firms, US customs offices, etc.
Beware of Websites that harvest your Personal Information and then use High Pressure Sales Tactics: We have heard that there are some companies located down east that harvest your IP address and Contact Information if you just go onto their website. They then contact you by email and/or telephone and high pressure you into buying their services. If you are contacted in this way we advise you to make a formal complaint to CRTC.
Beware of companies that can block all your calls after you pay: We have heard there are now many companies that have telephone systems where they can block or auto-direct your call to voice mail systems which are totally ignored. And that the only way to get a hold of them is to call from a different number and pretend you are a new client. However, when they find out who you are they then hang up on you and block or auto-direct that number.
Why don’t the Police do something to stop these criminals and put them out of business? In making numerous complaints to the local police, local RCMP and Ottawa RCMP, we always get the same response; they don’t have the resources, buyer beware and “that sound’s like a civil matter”.