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Immigrantscams hero
• Apr 30, 2024

Five international airports span the 100-mile radius between Newburgh, New York — where LaTanya Bryant serves as a TD Store manager — and New York City, making it one of the largest international gateways in the world.

She has seen firsthand the exploitation many new immigrants experience at the hands of fraudsters when they arrive in the U.S. As a result, LaTanya has partnered with nonprofits that house asylum seekers and provide critical financial education to incoming immigrants.

Through her work with these nonprofits, LaTanya has learned a lot about the challenges many immigrants face when they first arrive in the U.S., and she believes that language and financial barriers are key reasons for fraudsters to target this population.

"Spending an extended amount of time in a country where you don’t speak the language is an immense hardship," she said. "Because they are new to the country and not familiar with the language, many scammers target immigrants by offering to help them with various services. They typically ask for an upfront fee, then they take the money and run."

Staying Vigilant

For immigrants who may be new to a country, it's important to remain cautious — especially in the first few days after arriving. Suraj Rai first came to Canada in 2019, and he had one thing on his mind: to secure a job. He was the first of his family to journey abroad and on day one, he had no social network to support him. Like so many new immigrants, he was unsure where he would live, who would hire him, and how long he had to spread out the funds that he brought with him.

Today, Suraj works on TD's Fraud Risk Management team. However, he cautions newcomers to be vigilant, as he was the unwitting prey of scammers after immigrating to Canada. "I want to share my story so that others can learn," Suraj said.

During his first week in Canada, Suraj quickly began looking for a job. He received an offer of employment as a "commission agent" within 15 days of arriving. On his first day, he was told that he would receive funds into his bank account through the email he had provided on his employment application. He had instructions to withdraw the funds at an ATM and deposit them in the "company's account." Thankfully, Suraj was spared from potentially fraudulent activity for two reasons:

  • He didn't have a car at the time and had to walk to the nearest ATM
  • He had chosen TD Bank to manage his finances upon his arrival

Before proceeding to the ATM, the fraud team at TD notified him that the funds deposited to his account were fraudulently drawn off a credit card. Suraj quickly understood that he was the victim of a fraud scam. TD closed the compromised account and opened a new one, assisting Suraj by monitoring his account, and he was able to continue his journey without monetary loss.

"After that day," Suraj said, "I became vigilant. Whoever was coming here — my friends or my family — the first thing I told them was to look out for these kinds of scams."

Vaida Lowell, who works in technology for TD, came to America from Lithuania and has heard about similar scams targeting immigrants.

"Some of the biggest scams I hear about are related to the green card lottery, visa applications, and resettlement programs," she said. "The application processes are complex, so new immigrants often seek assistance from third parties to complete these documents. And along the way, fraudsters may steal personal information and money for 'application' fees."

When Vaida first came to the U.S., everything about American life seemed different. "Navigating the new systems — financial, education, healthcare, telecommunications, job hunting — they all differ drastically from some home countries," she said. "I was fortunate that I could lean on my husband and my in-laws."

Lessons Learned

Despite the challenges each of these colleagues has encountered, their journeys have informed their work within the bank.

"For the new immigrants with no local family or friends, finding a local community or nonprofit organization that has resources to guide them through the different processes are very helpful, especially at the beginning," Vaida said.

For LaTanya, becoming financially literate is an essential life skill that all people — and especially new immigrants — should become familiar with. "The two most important things to teach new immigrants is the language and financial education. Being able to communicate is one of the main drivers of successful economic and social integration of immigrants. Teaching new immigrants to be financially responsible gives them the skills and confidence to define their future."

And though Suraj now works in Fraud Risk Management, his call to action as a former victim of fraud is a little different. He reaches out to bridge the intense isolation that he and so many newcomers face upon arrival in their new country in hopes of preventing fraud.

"I am engaging myself with local communities and local organizations who help new immigrants make sure that fraud is explained to a new person that is coming into this country," he said. "I understand that it's not easy for someone who is changing their whole life all at once, but I want to help anyone I can."

For more on personal finance topics

If you would like to learn more about how to protect yourself against fraud, visit TD Bank's Security Center.

If you have more questions about other personal finance topics that matter to you, visit the Learning Center on TD Bank’s website. You can find out more information about TD Bank's services at

We hope you found this helpful. This article is based on information available in April 2024 and is subject to change. It is provided as a convenience and for general information purposes only. Our content is not intended to provide legal, tax, investment, or financial advice or to indicate that a particular TD Bank or third-party product or service is available or right for you.

For specific advice about your unique circumstances, consider talking with a qualified professional.

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