Caller ID immigration spoofing scam Indian nationals living in New Zealand are being targeted by a new wave of scam phone calls claiming to be from Immigration New Zealand. The callers threaten deportation and demand payment to a Western Union account in India.
The scamThe callers fraudulently claim to be calling from Immigration New Zealand and tell the person that there has been a problem with the processing of their visa and/or arrival card information.
Often the caller has some details of the person they are speaking to, such as name, date of birth, and/or address. The caller may also quote reference numbers, although these do not appear to match Immigration New Zealand client or application numbers.
The callers are quite persistent, aggressive, and sound authoritative. As the callers have personal details of the person they are speaking to, the recipient of the call often believes it is genuine.
The callers demand that the victims pay money into a Western Union account or face serious consequences, such as deportation.
Calls have been made using numbers showing as the Immigration Contact Centre (09 914 4100) and Crime Stoppers (0800 555 111), but with an extra zero at the beginning.
The scammers are using a technology known as caller ID spoofing that allows a legitimate phone number to appear when the call is actually being made from another number, quite possibly from outside of New Zealand.
This particular scam has been going on since around mid-2013 and appears to target only Indian nationals.
Immigration New Zealand first posted a warning about the scam on its website on 20 October 2013 and Consumer Affairs last posted a warning in August 2014.
To date, almost 300 Indian nationals have reported being called by the scammers with the dollar values involved typically ranging from $1000 to $5000.
Our adviceImmigration New Zealand never requests money over the phone. No matter how important the caller may sound, do not pay.
Contact the New Zealand Police or report the call to Scamwatch.
Further advice can be found on the Immigration New Zealand and Consumer Affairs websites.
How to stay safeYou can protect yourself by following these simple rules: