INZ says scammers are targeting foreign nationals
20 Jul 16
IMPACT – MEDIUM
What is the change? Immigration New Zealand said this week that hundreds of foreign nationals have been contacted by scammers posing as immigration officials.
What does the change mean? Employers and foreign nationals should take note of the scams and are reminded that New Zealand immigration authorities do not threaten deportation or arrest or demand payment over the phone.
- Implementation timeframe: Immediate and ongoing.
- Who is affected: Foreign nationals who hold or are applying for New Zealand visas.
- Business impact: Companies should warn foreign employees about the scams and note that in some cases the scammers may appear legitimate because they possess identifying information about the employee, including names and addresses.
- Next steps: Those who believe they have been targeted by a scammer should contact law enforcement authorities or Consumer Protection’s Scamwatch.
Background: INZ reported this week that, since the beginning of June, it has received about 289 complaints from people who believe they’ve been called by a scammer. The scammers appear to be targeting foreign nationals, including Indian and Fijian nationals. In many cases, the scammer will pose as an INZ official and demand money or iTunes vouchers in exchange for avoiding deportation or arrest. INZ said that scammers may use “ID spoofing” technology to make it appear that they are calling from legitimate phone numbers. Officials stressed that INZ does not ever demand payment over the phone.
BAL Analysis: Foreign nationals and family members should take note of the uptick in reports of scams and are reminded not to provide payment or personal information over the phone.
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