Based on your report it looks like you may have been affected by a foreign government debt collection or immigration debt collection scam. Take a look at the information below for advice on what steps you should take to stay safe.
HOW THIS SCAM WORKS AND WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE:
Scammers have been calling people unsolicited, claiming to be from a foreign government, their embassy or even the immigration department. If you’ve received a call from someone claiming you owe money for a visa, or for stolen goods that were inside a package addressed to you, you might be the target of this scam.
We’ve had incidents reported to us where the first caller claims to be from a courier company reporting that goods addressed to you have been found to be stolen. They follow on to transfer your call to a ‘Police Officer’ who demands that you deposit money from your bank account into theirs claiming that it’s required for their investigation.
Other reports explain the scammer demands payment for an overdue or incorrectly processed visa for travelling to New Zealand.
We have seen both the Chinese and Indian communities targeted with these scam. The Police issued a warning about a variation of this scam in May of 2018. You can find this here.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU’VE BEEN CALLED:
- Hang up the phone. It’s important that you don’t engage with the scammer at all. Even if you don’t share any information or pay any money to them, if you continue to speak to them on the phone this can encourage them to continue to contact you.
- Warn the other household members. Even when you’ve told the scam caller you’re not interested, it’s common for the scammers to call again in the hopes of getting in contact with a more vulnerable family member.
- Report the calls to your phone company. If you’ve received 3 or more unwanted calls from the same people within a week you can report the calls as nuisance calls to your phone company. They might or might not be able to block the callers, there’s some technical criteria they will need to check at their end, but it’s still worthwhile letting them know.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU’VE SHARED PRIVATE INFORMATION OR BANK DETAILS:
- If you have shared bank account information you should report the incident to your bank immediately. This includes credit card information.
- If you have sent money using your credit card you can speak to your bank about applying for a charge back.
If you have sent money via an online money transfer platform (such as Bitcoin) the transaction is likely untraceable, and you may not be able to get your money back.
- If you have shared any sensitive personal information, this Identity Theft Checklistis a helpful guide on what could happen with your information. If you believe you may have been exposed to identity theft, we suggest you contact iDCare as they provide free help and support.
IF YOU’VE LOST MONEY
- Report the incident to the Police. As per the information in the Police warning issued in May of 2018, anyone who believes they are a victim of any crime, in person or online, should report the matter to their local Police.
- Report the incident to your bank. If money has been transferred from your bank account on the instructions of the scammer it’s important that you let your bank know as soon as possible. There is no guarantee they’ll be able to recover the money that was sent but the sooner you let them know the better the outcome is likely to be.
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