Indian Couple Gets Duped by Phone Scamster in Australia
The new immigrants to Australia were unaware of the warnings issued by the government against scamsters.
An Indian couple who shifted to Brisbane, Australia, in July 2017 lost $6,000 after receiving a fake call from someone pretending to be from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Swati and Abhilash Nagar moved to Australia in July 2017 and have been looking for work. They received a call recently from a fake caller who scared Swati by saying that there was a mistake in her immigration papers and that she would have to immediately leave Australia and report to the Australian High Commission in New Delhi, or pay $6,000 in fees to correct the mistake, SBS Punjabi reported.
Scams in which people are told by a caller to pay money in order to avoid deportation from Australia have come to its notice, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says, the publication reported. The department’s website carries a warning in which people are advised to hang up if they receive such a call and contact the police and the Immigration and Border Protection.
“We are new to the country so, it didn’t immediately raise a flag when the person said that I had made a mistake while filling up my immigration clearance form while departing India,” Swati told the publication. “He said ‘if it isn’t rectified, you will be arrested and imprisoned and have to pay a fine of $20,000′.”
Having moved recently, she said that they were not aware of the warnings issued by the government about such scams. She also added that she only believed him because he had her personal details and information about her travel details as well as her parents’ address in India.
After she received the warning from the man about being deported, she let her husband speak to him and they were reportedly on call for more than two hours during which they were told not to speak to anyone else.
“He knew where I was from, where my parents lived in India and he also mentioned that our case was looked at by the Rajasthan High Court. He wouldn’t have known all this if he wasn’t someone from the department or had access to our personal information in an illegal way,” Swati said. “He perhaps would have even access to our bank statements because he knew this is what we would be able to pay.”
The couple paid $6,000 via Western Union and Money Gram to the fraudster. They were told that the money would be refunded after the mistake was fixed but that has not happened. Meanwhile, the couple is facing hardship after losing the $6,000.
“Financially, yes – it’s a lot of money to lose for anyone, let alone a new migrant still looking for work. But my biggest concern is that the caller still has our information and he may be able to use it again at will,” the report quoted her as saying. “And I want others to be aware of this so they don’t find themselves in the same situation that we are in.”