“It is vital that people are aware of fraudsters’ tricks before handing over money for immigration assistance which is never provided,” Mr Bowen said.
“This is why the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has launched a new online consumer protection resource to help people to learn about migration scams online and safeguard against scams.
The ‘Protect Yourself from Migration Fraud’ information kit includes victims’ stories, tips to stay safe online, information on how to identify non-genuine websites and fraudulent emails, links to consumer resources and a video testimonial.
A common tactic of these sites is the use of language such as ‘registered provider’ or ‘Australian visa application service. They claim that they can ‘guarantee’ a visa, this is a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ or it is your ‘only chance’ to travel or migrate to Australia.”
In the most prevalent scam, clients are invited to register online before a salesperson contacts them and asks them to provide credit card details. Charges are then debited to their card but no migration services are provided.
Migration fraud involves illegal operators posing as migration professionals. In Australia, migration agents must be registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority.
The information kit has been developed following an increase in complaints about internet migration scams, which often appear to be official Australian Government websites.
To find out more information about Australian migration scams visit http://www.immi.gov.au/contacts/forms/services/services-form.htm