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Scammers are targeting visa holders

Scammers are targeting visa holders

Those who have migrated to Australia or are current holders of temporary immigration visas are being targeted by a scam, reveals the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).

Scammers who are masquerading as government officials have apparently been contacting migrants in Australia and claiming that there is something wrong with their 'Citizenship and Immigration Services Alien" (CISA) number.

The scammer may then ask the migrant to pay some sort of fee, usually to the tune of $900, to fix the problem with their CISA number, or risk being deported back to their country of origin.

A spokesman for the DIAC said that this was a well-organised scam designed to get migrants to cough up a "unpaid government fee". He reminded all migrants in Australia that the government would never phone you and demand a visa payment.

"So, if you receive this call, hang up," he said.

Delia Rickard, ACCC deputy chair, added that the scammers may try to harass you into handing over money, contacting you repeatedly - but if you do pay them, you will never see your money again.

"Never send money or give your account details to a stranger," Ms Rickard explained.

She said that scammers may not stop at stealing what's in your bank account, but could also use any information you have provided them with to steal your identity as well.

These scammers have been known to go to great lengths to find out everything there is to know about their victims, so they may seem legitimate when you pick up the phone.

Ms Rickard was adamant that you should not be fooled, even if they have your personal details, such as your address, visa status, nationality or birth date.

In the Digital Age, this information can be accessed and collected through a number of channels, including websites and social networking forums, so be on your guard.

"Anyone who receives this type of call seeking payment should ignore the demands for payment and report it immediately," said Ms Rickard.

She said in a July 25 statement that 60 people have already reported being targeted by this scam in 2013, and a total of $20,000 may have been lost because of it.

Working with registered migration agents to apply for any type of visa could give you peace of mind and help you avoid scammers.

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