Australian Associated Press
Immigrants and visa holders are being threatened with deportation as part of a new scam, the federal government warns.
Crooks pretending to be immigration department staffers are calling victims and warning them they’ll be kicked out the country unless they pay $900.
The scammers demand the cash after telling targets their “Citizenship and Immigration Services Alien (CISA)” cards or numbers are faulty.
But there’s no such thing as a CISA, the Department of Immigration and the government’s SCAMwatch website said in a warning about the rort.
“The Australian government will never call you to demand a payment in relation to your visa to avoid being deported. If you receive such a call, just hang up,” the warning added.
It’s unclear how many people have been affected by the CISA scam or how many have lost money to its perpetrators.
But visa holders have used online forums to report being targeted with similar threats.
It comes just days after authorities warned that criminals are increasingly using big brand names to target Australians with email hoaxes.
Record levels of phishing emails landed in Australian inboxes in 2012/13, with most disguised as messages from major corporations and government departments trying to grab customers’ personal data.
Recent examples of the email hoaxes, which are believed to have netted criminals millions of dollars, have used Facebook, Microsoft, the Australian Taxation Office and Telstra’s branding to appear genuine.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) estimates six million Australians are exposed to scams or frauds each year, with about 800,000 losing money.
Recently published ABS data shows Australians lost $1.4 billion through personal fraud in 2010/11 – though that figure includes crime such as credit card skimming.