New scam has extracted $150,000 from visa holders in Australia

by Ray Clancy on October 6, 2016

in Australia Immigration

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is warning overseas citizens of a new scam by people posing as immigration officials and threatening them with deportation.

The new wave of scammers, who say they are officials from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP), are also demanding money.

scam-signThe ACCC has received 300 reports about this scam with victims having paid out $150,000 in a bid to sort out problems they have been told exist with their visas and paperwork.

‘The scammers target migrants and temporary visa holders, claiming there are problems with their immigration paperwork or visa status and they need to pay a fee to correct the problem and avoid deportation,’ said ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard.

‘These scammers often glean personal information from social media, making the demands seem more legitimate. Recently, these scams have been going one step further, threatening the arrest of loved ones, or claiming they have already been arrested or detained. They demand payment through wire transfers or iTunes gift cards,’ she warned.

‘Scammers may try to pressure you by calling incessantly and harassing you, even threatening to send the police to your house. Simply hang up and do not respond. If you give your money to a scammer, you will never see it again,’ she added.

She also pointed out that the DIBP will never ask for wire transfers or iTune cards as a payment option. ‘If in doubt, don’t use any contact details provided by the caller, instead look up the government department or organisation yourself in the phone book or online and phone or email them,’ said Rickard.

The advice for anyone that receives a phone call out of the blue from someone claiming to be from the Department of Immigration or any government agency telling you that you will be deported unless you pay a fine is to hang up.

People are advised to separately contact the department directly if they have doubts and not to use any phone numbers, email addresses or websites provided by the caller. The correct numbers can be in the phone book or online search.

Officials say that people should never send any money via wire transfer or any other means to anyone they do not know or trust and never give personal information, bank account or credit card details over the phone unless they are sure you are speaking with a trusted source and they understand why the person is calling you.

Anyone who thinks that they may have provided their details to a scammer should contact their bank or financial institution immediately. People are also advised to know their own visa status and entitlements.

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