Beware of Immigration scams
We don’t want you to become a victim of an immigration scam. If you need legal advice on immigration matters, make sure the person helping you is authorised to give legal advice.
Under the Migration Act 1958, it is against the law for an individual in Australia, who is not a registered migration agent with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority, to provide immigration assistance.
Using unregistered migration agents could leave you at risk of being given incorrect or misleading advice. Also, as you will not have the benefit of consumer protection, an unregistered agent might take your money without providing an adequate service or even any service at all.
How these scams work
- You receive a call out of the blue from someone claiming that there is a problem with your visa and that you need to pay money upfront to avoid risking deportation.
- The scammer may pretend to be from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, the Australian High Commission, Customs and Border Protection, or incorrect government departments such as Customs House, Canberra Border Security and Citizenship, and Immigration Services Australia.
- The scammer may state that the payment is in relation to the fictitious ‘Citizenship and Immigration Services Alien’ or ‘CISA’ card.
- The scammer will concoct all sorts of elaborate stories to trick you into thinking there is something wrong with your visa, such as you must purchase a ‘CISA’ card, you failed to provide information for the card, or the card’s details need to be updated or fixed.
- The scammer may also have a lot of information on hand about you such as your full name, address, date of birth, nationality and details about your visa status.
- You may feel a lot of pressure to hand over your money, with scammers reportedly calling victims multiple times and threatening deportation.
- The scammer will instruct you to send them the money via money transfer. If you hand over any money, you will never see it again.
- If you receive a phone call out of the blue from someone claiming to be from government and asking for money upfront to avoid deportation, just hang up. There is only one official Australian Government provider of visas: the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
- Be on guard – just because someone seems to have a lot of information on hand about you, it doesn’t mean that they’re the real deal. Scammers go to all sorts of lengths to get to know you, including collecting personal information online through websites and social networking forums.
- Never provide your personal details to a stranger—scammers will use your details to commit identity fraud.
You should such incidents to the relevant state or territory police and to the Immigration Dob-In Line on 1800 009 623.
You can report a scam to the ACCC via the report a scam page on SCAMwatch or by calling 1300 795 995.