News : Beware of Immigration Scam Phone Calls
June 6, 2014 -- A new wave of immigration scam phone calls is currently taking place in New Zealand.
Scammers phone Indian nationals living in New Zealand claiming to be from Immigration New Zealand. They demand payment to a Western Union account in India and threaten deportation.
Jarrod Rendle, Team Leader, Advice, Information and Education, from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment is concerned at the number of people being caught out by this scam.
"The callers are quite persistent and aggressive and they have personal details of the person they are speaking to which makes the caller think it could be genuine."
"The calls also appear to be coming from the Immigration Contact Centre number, but in fact they are not. We call this practice a caller id spoofing scam," says Jarrod.
Immigration New Zealand first posted a warning about the scam on its website on 30 October 2013. Since then almost 300 Indian nationals have reported being called by the scammers, with reported losses of close to $65,000, according to figures from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).
"Knowing about the common types of scams and the typical red flags can help avoid being scammed. Banks, Immigration New Zealand or Inland Revenue never email, call or SMS customers to ask for information or money to be sent using money transfer services.
If you receive one of these calls do not pay the money. Contact the New Zealand Police or report the call to Scamwatch.govt.nz," says Jarrod.
Last year New Zealanders lost over $4.8 million to scams. To date for 2014, Kiwis have lost close to $1.7 million.
A cross-agency consumer fraud working group established in 2012 by MBIE, the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), the Commerce Commission and NetSafe continues to raise awareness and provide coordinated responses to new and evolving scams. The group also runs a joint Facebook page with real time scam alerts.
Fraud Awareness Week ,which runs until the end of the week, is run by MBIE in partnership with NetSafe, the Commerce Commission, DIA and the New Zealand Police.
For more information visit www.scamwatch.co.nz or www.facebook.com/fraudinfo
- Hang up immediately.
- If it doesn’t seem right, be cautious, double check details first.
- Do not pay money to anyone you have never met.
- Look after your personal details in the same way you would your wallet and other possessions. Your personal details are also very valuable to scammers, they will use your details to take out loans or run up debts if they can.
- Be aware of common scams. For example, banks, Immigration New Zealand or Inland Revenue never email, call or SMS customers to ask for information. If you receive a request like that, it’s a scam.
- Warn others. If you have been targeted by a scam, report it straight away to Scamwatch.govt.nz and help prevent others from becoming the next scam victim.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Monday, June 9, 2014