Immigration scam targets migrants

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is warning migrants to watch out for scammers pretending to be from the 'Department of Immigration', threatening deportation and demanding money.

The ACCC has received 300 reports about this scam since March 2016, with more than $150,000 reported lost.

"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. These scammers often glean personal information from social media, making the demands seem more legitimate," ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard warned.

"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 said.

"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," Ms Rickard said.

"The Department of Immigration and Border Protection will never ask for wire transfers or iTune cards as a payment option," she said.

"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," Ms Rickard said.
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