Phone scammers targeting visa holders

VISA holders have been urged to hang up on individuals impersonating Department of Immigration officers seeking payment to fix "visa irregularities".

The phone scammers are targeting international communities in Australia, including Indian nationals holding temporary resident visas.

Students from overseas and subclass 457 visa holders in the information and communications technology industry are among those in the fraudsters' sights.

A department spokesman said it was a well-organised scam to con visa holders into transferring a purported "penalty payment" offshore when none is required.

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

"Conmen claiming to be from fabricated immigration or border security agencies tell targets their visa details are out of date, specifying an identification number.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."

DIAC is gathering evidence both in Australia and overseas in an attempt to catch and prosecute the scammers.

"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 spokesman said.



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