Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, today warned prospective migrants and visa applicants to Australia to be wary of migration scammers.
‘It is vital that people are aware of fraudsters’ tricks before handing over money for immigration assistance which is never provided,’ Mr Bowen said.
‘This is why the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has launched a new online consumer protection resource to help people to learn about migration scams online and safeguard against scams.
‘The Protect Yourself from Migration Fraud information kit includes victims’ stories, tips to stay safe online, information on how to identify non-genuine websites and fraudulent emails, links to consumer resources and a video testimonial.’
The information kit has been developed following an increase in complaints about internet migration scams, which often appear to be official Australian Government websites.
‘A common tactic of these sites is the use of language such as ‘registered provider’ or ‘Australian visa application service’,’ Mr Bowen said.
‘They claim that they can ‘guarantee’ a visa, this is a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ or it is your ‘only chance’ to travel or migrate to Australia.’
In the most prevalent scam, clients are invited to register online before a salesperson contacts them and asks them to provide credit card details. Charges are then debited to their card despite no migration service being provided.
Migration fraud involves illegal operators posing as migration professionals. In Australia, migration agents must be registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority.
People with information about migration scams or illegal operators should telephone DIAC’s Dob-In Line or visit the DIAC website.
Telephone: 1800 009 623