06 December 2012

DIAC warn Australian visa holders of phone scam

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The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has warned Australian visa holders of a new scam aimed at extorting money from unsuspecting people.

Australia visa

DIAC is urging all Australian visa holders to remain vigilant against scams and report any phone calls to the Dob-In Line.

The scammers are reportedly ringing Australian visa holders and informing them their visas contain 'irregularities' and demanding immediate payment or face deportation.

Australian immigration authorities claim the scammers are targeting international communities and temporary resident visa holders as well as international students.

A spokesperson for the department described the scam as well organised and urged anyone called to immediately hang up and report the call to the police.

"DIAC has received information from a number of Indian clients who have been contacted by people claiming to be from immigration-related agencies," said the spokesperson.

"Conmen claiming to be from fabricated 'Immigration' or 'border security' agencies tell targets their visa details, specifying an identification number.

"The caller asks them to ‘confirm’ their identification details, then requests an immediate penalty payment to an offshore address, or else their visa will be cancelled and they could be jailed.

"Anyone phoned by people seeking such payments should refuse to pay, tell the caller you are aware of their scam, that you will be reporting the matter to police, and then hang up."

The department has an anonymous hotline known as the 'Dob-In Line' which it has urged anyone affected to call.

"It is important to report such incidents to the relevant state or territory police and to the Immigration Do-In Line on 1800 009 623."

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications with the Australian Embassy.

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