Australian residents of Indian descent are currently being targeted by scammers who pose as employees of Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) or the Australian Federal Police.
According to DIBP and ACT Policing, these attempts to defraud the public have been made over the past month and they may occur anywhere in Australia.
Responding to southasia.com.au’s query about the development, a spokesperson for DIBP said although members of the Indian community appear to be the main target of the scam, there have been instances of other nationalities being called as well, including people of Middle Eastern background. “A high number of clients who reported the scam are of Indian descent, but the scam appears to be targeting a variety nationalities,” the spokesperson alerted.
“The bogus representatives inform victims that there are issues with their immigration status and heavy fines or an arrest may follow. The scammers advise that a smaller fee can be paid online or through a Western Union account to avoid heavier penalties,” DIBP said.
According to the spokesperson, the scammers demand money ranging anywhere from $795 to $76,000.
The public should note that DIBP never requests ‘payments over the phone or through international money transfer providers’.
DIBP is currently working with the AFP and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to combat the scam.
Anyone who is targeted or falls victim to the scam should contact the Immigration Dob-In Line on 1800 009 623.
The DIBP website also provides people with information on how to protect themselves from migration fraud and scams – visit www.immi.gov.au/Help/Pages/fraud/migration-fraud-scams.aspx