Immigration NZ warns visa holders of phishing scams

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Visa holders warned of phishing scams targeting Immigration NZ. Cybersecurity agency, CERT NZ, reports rise in phone scam incidents, with scammers posing as immigration officers and requesting personal info and payment to resolve visa problems. Stay vigilant and report any suspicious activity.

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Visa holders in New Zealand are being cautioned about a growing trend of phishing scammers who pose as immigration officers. The country's cybersecurity agency, CERT NZ, has reported a rise in phone scam incidents, wherein automated voice calls claim that the recipient has visa issues. The calls offer language options in English and Chinese, but if English is chosen, the call abruptly ends. However, if Chinese is selected, scammers request personal information and demand payment to resolve the alleged visa problems. These phishing scams have become increasingly prevalent, with CERT NZ receiving over 400 reports of such incidents towards the end of last year.

The agency's senior analyst, Sam Leggett, highlighted the concerning upsurge in various scams revolving around immigration. This comes at a time when New Zealand is experiencing a record number of migrants. Besides the phone scams, there has been an increase in other fraudulent activities related to immigration. One example is the creation of fake websites that claim to offer visa services before arriving in New Zealand. Additionally, there have been instances of job scams, where scammers impersonate employers or recruiters, promising job opportunities in the country.

Immigration New Zealand has reported that it received 417 complaints regarding phone scams targeting visa holders in November, but the number significantly dropped to 15 in December. This decline might indicate that scammers were adjusting their tactics or that individuals became more aware of the threats and reported them promptly. Nevertheless, CERT NZ continues to advise visa holders to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity on their website. The agency's efforts are crucial in combatting the rising trend of immigration-related phishing scams and ensuring the online safety of visa holders.

author headshot Michael Yoon
Last modified on 1 February 2024 by
Michael Yoon
Michael has been working as a lawyer in New Zealand since 2006. Over the years, he has successfully helped thousands of clients to get their desired outcome. Clients find Michael knowledgeable, approachable and professional — a trusted expert.

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