The Department of Immigration and Border Protection in Australia is warning that there are a number of scams which target people looking for visas and jobs.

‘We have been made aware of a wave of scam phone calls currently taking place. The people making these phone calls are impersonating officers from the department or other government organisations,’ a spokesman explained.

‘The caller will usually insist that a fine be paid immediately as a penalty for an alleged error committed by the intended victim. We can confirm that we will not ask for payment of fines or penalties by telephone,’ he added.

A common approach has seen visa holders receiving a phone call from an individual posing as an immigration official. The caller has the visa holder’s passport and date of birth, and claims that the date of birth recorded is incorrect and needs to be updated for a cost. The caller claims that the visa holder will be deported if they don’t make this payment.

‘Be aware this is a scam. If you receive a call of this nature, we advise that you hang up immediately and report the call to police in your state or territory, and to us on the Immigration Dob-in Service,’ the spokesman added.

The DIBP is also warning about scams that use email addresses ending in .pn’ claiming to be from the department. The scammer contacts a victim through a fake email address and claims to be from the department or another Australian Government agency.

The email address used by the scammer is not a genuine departmental email address and ends in .pn. For example, immi@govt.au.pn or australia@immigrationapproval.com.au.pn.

‘Victims can receive an email unsolicited, after they register their details on a job seeking website, or after responding to a non-genuine employment ad. The person targeted will be asked to provide personal documents to the scammer, and will then be asked to make a payment through Western Union money transfer,’ the spokesman pointed out.

The victim might be told they have been selected in a ‘resettlement programme’ through an ‘electronic ballot’. These scam emails have often been signed by a ‘Hon. Thomas Smith’.

The victim might be contacted by the scammer pretending to be from a company. The victim is then taken through a fake recruitment process, and told to contact the department through a non-genuine email address ending in .pn.

‘We will never send genuine emails from an email address that ends in .pn. We will not ask you to make a payment directly to the department through Western Union. We do not offer a resettlement programme through unsolicited emails or an electronic ballot. If you have received an email that matches this scam we strongly recommend not responding,’ the spokesman concluded.