Indian Newslink reader Rachana Piu had sent us the following email prior to Christmas Holidays.
I received a call from a person named Ryan Johnson saying that he was calling from Immigration New Zealand (INZ) Customer Service and that I had made an error while filling the immigration form when I visited India in September 2013. He had my correct date of birth and residential address which made me believe him. He was on the phone for almost three-and-half hours guiding me on the steps to be taken. He warned that I stood the risk of being deported from New Zealand.
He mentioned a name of an Indian solicitor who would be dealing with my case in India. He made me rush to a Western Union outlet to transfer the penalty fee, warning that the Police would visit my house to verify the documents. He disconnected the line the moment the money was transferred to the account that he had specified.
I called INZ office in Delhi and was told that there was no employee by the name of Ryan Johnson. The Police later told me that there were three similar complaints from Indians.
Following our inquiry, INZ Area Manager (Operations Support) Michael Carley said that his Department was aware of the phone scam apparently targeting Indian nationals.
“The scam involves callers who fraudulently claim to be calling from INZ, telling the person receiving the call that there has been a problem with their visa or arrival card information. They demand payment of money into a Western Union account or face serious consequences, such as deportation. These calls are not from INZ,” he said.
According to Mr Carley, the caller usually has some details of the person including name, date of birth and address, quote a reference number and scare people.
“As at December 20, 2013, INZ had received 130 complaints and we understand that more than $23,000 has so far been paid by 11 people. If you receive one of these calls, do not pay any money. We strongly advise you to contact the New Zealand Police to report the call,” he said.