Scam artists are very inventive and can come up with very convincing stories and methods to take advantage of a vulnerable person. Among these methods are the use of websites that looks like that of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, claims of being able to find you sponsorship for a visa, and calls asking for verification of documents or claiming you will be deported. Ultimately, there is always a fee involved. This is only a sample example of the types of scams being run.
Recently we have heard of scammers piggybacking migration agencies phone numbers to make their calls. These scammers claim to be from the department. When the victim looks up the number, they are greeted with the migration agency’s information. This might allow the victim to believe that the call is legitimate and so are conned into believing the scammer.
Please always verify, whether on website, call or otherwise, that the site or person you are dealing with is official. Do not provide any personal information until you are absolutely certain.
There is one simple piece of advice that will halt a scammer in their tracks. Simply say to the person on the phone that you are not prepared to discuss any topic or disclose any information unless they send an email identifying yourself with a contact number you can call you them back on. If they refuse to do this then just hang up. Remember the immigration department already have your email address so if they ask for it, they are not the immigration department. Criminals will never send you a contact number via an email because that leads a trail and they don’t like leaving such footprints.
Understand that basic personal information that may seem like the caller knows you/your case can be gleaned through many sources; social media, databases etc. You are should not be asked for fees over the phone. Visit sites that are officially linked from the DIBP’s site www.border.gov.au
The DIBP warns the public of scams and provides information on how to handle such situations as well as how to report such incidents here. Share this with your friends, please! You may feel news like this has no impact as you did not or will not fall for a scam, but there are many people who become unfortunate victims. Your part in creating awareness (which would be passed on and beyond your network) could just save someone from a scam.