Sam Boyer

Sam Boyer is a police reporter for the NZ Herald.

Scam targets Indian migrants

The victims were phoned by someone posing as an Immigration NZ employee. Photo / Thinkstock
The victims were phoned by someone posing as an Immigration NZ employee. Photo / Thinkstock

Indian immigrants are being bullied out of thousands of dollars by overseas scammers who are threatening them with deportation.

At least 11 Indian immigrants have fallen victim to the scam in the past six weeks, each paying about $3,000.

Detective Sergeant Graham Shand said the scammers, who appeared to be based overseas, were targeting Indians who had recently returned from holidays in India.

"I've had 11 complainants, all of Indian descent. All have flown over to India, and when they've arrived back in New Zealand they have been contacted by a number they believed to be Immigration New Zealand."

They were told they had filled out immigration forms incorrectly and needed to pay money to Indian immigration services, Mr Shand said.

"It was (sold to them as) a fee, a fine for the error they had made. Basically, they were bullied and told they could be deported."

The immigrants were told to transfer funds to accounts in India through Credit Union, Mr Shand said.

The victims were phoned by someone posing as an Immigration NZ employee. The number on their phones was an Immigration NZ-registered one in Auckland. It is believed the scammers used technology to disguise or change the number, called "caller ID spoofing".

Police have not yet identified how the scammers knew to target Indian immigrants returning from India.

"We've spoken to Immigration NZ and they haven't been able to identify a common link for where the information could be being sourced from."

- NZ Herald

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