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Scammers con hundreds by spoofing Immigration NZ phone number

Posted on May 18, 2015
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Indian students living in New Zealand are being targetted by a new scam that has seen some hand over thousands of dollars.

The scammers use a practice known as “caller ID spoofing” to make it appear as though they’re phoning from an official government department number – and then threaten to prosecute or deport the students unless they immediately pay a fee.

Saritha Annapureddy came here from India for a better life, and lost almost all her savings after being scammed out of more than $4,000.

“Initially when I received the call I thought it’s a fake call. I mean some friend is playing prank with me,” she said.

The call was from someone pretending to be from Immigration New Zealand, and Ms Annapureddy was told she’d filled in her arrival card incorrectly and had to pay fees or be deported immediately.

The man told her to transfer money via Western Union for lawyers’ and documentation fees.

“I had to believe them because the number was exactly the Auckland Immigration number with a zero difference,” Ms Annapureddy said.

Ms Annapureddy was on the phone for four hours until she paid, as she was told if she hung up it’d be another criminal offence.

Immigration New Zealand says it knows of around 300 similar cases.

“Under no circumstances will Immigration New Zealand telephone a client and ask them for money,” a spokesperson said.

Police say there’s little they can do because the scammers operate from overseas.

For more news and updates, assistance with your visa needs or for a Free Assessment of your profile for Immigration or Work Visa’s just visit www.y-axis.com

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