Scammers posing as immigration officers are duping migrants with visa and paperwork issues and threatening arrest if they will not send money.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission have received reports of migrants, mainly from India and Pakistan, who have fallen prey to the scammers.
The Latrobe Community Health Services issued a warning saying the DIBP had received 150 scam complaints nation-wide since February with more than $35,000 taken from the victims.
The DIBP said scammers phoned their victims and presented themselves as immigration officers claiming issues with visa and papers lodged to the department.
Victims were told to resolve the issue they would have to pay a fine or resubmit forms worth $1000 through wire transfer at a nearby post office.
The caller would threaten victims that police would knock on their door and arrest them if they did not settle the fee immediately.
The caller may also ask for personal details and bank information.
The DIBP said it did not ask for visa payment or fines by telephone and asked victims to hang up if they received a phone call of this nature.
If in doubt of the caller’s identity, migrants are asked to directly phone the immigration department and not rely on the person’s given contact details.
Anyone victimised by the scammers are encouraged to report the matter to the DIBP or the ACCC via the SCAMwatch report at www.scamwatch.gov.au or phone 1300 795 995.