People who have recently come to live in Australia are being targeted by callous phone scammers.
The scammers, who pretend to be from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the Department of Home Affairs, or other government entities, inform victims that there is a problem with their immigration status and that they will need to immediately pay a fee of several thousand dollars to rectify the problem.
The scammers threaten victims with deportation or even imprisonment if they do not pay the requested fee. Victims are usually instructed to pay via a money transfer system such as Western Union.
DFAT has published a warning about the scams on its website, which notes in part:
DFAT is aware of a phone scam involving a caller seeking confirmation of immigration status. The caller is asking people to pay money to avoid having their Australian visa cancelled.
Please be aware that DFAT would never ask for payment to be made over the phone. Do not volunteer your details or pay any money in response.
The Department of Home Affairs has also published a warning about the scams, noting:
We are concerned by recent scam phone calls, claiming to be from the Department of Home Affairs (the Department), with the caller requesting money to progress visa applications.
The caller identifies themselves as an employee of the Department, and typically introduces themselves using a first name. The phone number might appear to be a genuine official number.
The Department will never request money over the phone.
If you are contacted by someone claiming to be from the Department who requests money, report it using our Immigration and citizenship online report.
While this report discusses scams happening in Australia, criminals use almost identical tactics to target immigrants in other nations as well.
Importance NoticeAfter considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.
These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.
Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.
And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.
When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.
I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.
A Big Thank YouI would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.
I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.
Closing DateHoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.
Thank you, one and all!