Immigration scammers ripping off travellers


Scammers pretending to be from government agencies are targeting migrants and conning them out of thousands of dollars.

Scam artists claiming to work with the Department Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Department of Immigration are accusing travellers of giving false information on visa documents.

Victims are instructed to hand themselves into police, or pay almost $1000 via wire transfer through Western Union to stay in Australia, or face deportation.

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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says the scam is targeting migrants who have recently returned from India, with more than 20 reports in May totalling losses of more than $6000.

The scam appears legitimate, with those involved obtaining victims' date of birth, passport details and other personal information, with a caller ID displaying a DFAT number.

"If you receive a phone call out of the blue from someone claiming to be from DFAT, the Department of Immigration or any government agency telling you that you have done something wrong or threatening you and asking for money, hang up," says ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard.

"If you have any doubts about someone who says they are from a government department, contact the department directly. Don't use any phone numbers, email addresses or websites provided by the caller - find these details through an independent source such as a phone book or online search.

"Don't trust the caller ID, as this can be faked."

She is warning people to never send money via wire transfer or any other means to those they don't know or trust.

Government departments including DFAT and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection will never ask for wire transfers as a payment option.

If you think you have provided your details to scammers, contact your bank or financial institution.



Sharyn McCowen is Money's digital editor. She has a degree in journalism from Charles Sturt University, and was a newspaper reporter before moving to magazines and finance.
July 7, 2017 11.51am

Tell them that they should know where you are, so "come and get me if you think you're tough enough' and lets see what happens...nothing.

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