Last updated 12:48, April 18 2016
An Indian immigrant is trying to work out how he will pay back $2000 after falling victim to a scam.
On Tuesday about 12.30pm Aakash Shah, 24, received a call from what showed on his phone as the Immigration New Zealand Auckland office. When he answered, he was told he had filled in the wrong information on his arrival card to New Zealand in 2014. Shah is in New Zealand on a working visa. He is living in Palmerston North and has three part-time jobs, two as a carer.
"[They said] they would deport me back to India because the High Commissioner had rejected my information."
He was given two options as to what he could do.
"One would be to go back to India that night ... the second was if I wanted to do it from New Zealand I had to pay ... [or] I could get arrested in New Zealand for seven months."
Shah was told not to speak to anyone and to go and transfer $2080 to two lawyers through MoneyGram International to stop him being deported.
After doing this, his phone call was transferred to another man who said he had to pay $2040 to another two lawyers. It was then Shah started getting suspicious.
"His English wasn't that good, and that's when I thought there was something fishy going on."
He told him he didn't have the money to pay and he was told to ask his friends for money.
After talking to his friends, they realised the situation didn't sound right, and the person on the phone hung up.
The call had lasted four hours.
Shah said the money he lost in the scam was money he had planned to spend on a car to help get him to work, as he had just finished studying at UCOL. He worked three part-time jobs and was also supporting his family back in India.
"It was all [money] overdrawn from my account ... I was so scared I had to do that."
Shah had received a lot of support from friends in New Zealand, with one of his employers creating a Givealittlepage. Immigration New Zealand issued a warning on March 7 stating they were aware there was a new wave of scam phone calls claiming to be Immigration staff.
The message said callers would tell the person they had broken the law, which breached their visa conditions.
They then threatened that if they didn't pay money immediately, they would have to go to court and face further fees. Often the caller had some details of the person, such as case reference numbers, although they said these did not match client or application numbers.
The Consumer Protection website said in June 2014 almost 300 Indian nationals had reported being called by the scammer. Reported losses, according to figures from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, were close to $65,000.
The website said Immigration New Zealand or Inland Revenue would never email, call or text customers to ask for money to be sent using money transfer services. They said people who received one of these calls should not pay the money and should contact the New Zealand Police.