International student loses $13k in deportation phone scam

stock image.
stock image.

AN international student studying in Perth has lost more than $13,000 after she was threatened with deportation in a phone scam.

The scammers cold-called the student and pretended to be from the Immigration Department, demanding she pay them or risk having her visa cancelled.

She was instructed to buy Google Play cards from several Aldi supermarkets in the southern suburbs before passing on the cards’ codes to the scammers.

Consumer Protection commissioner David Hillyard said it wasn’t until she went to Cockburn Central’s Big W store that she was told she might be the victim of a scam.

Staff at Cockburn Central’s Big W store told the student she might be the victim of a scam. Picture: File image

“Woolworths and Coles have been highly responsive to our campaign to train staff to alert any customers who intend to make large purchases of these cards which scammers now use as their preferred currency,” he said.

“Putting doubt in the mind of scam victims may trigger them to get advice before going ahead with the purchases.

“The campaign is aimed at disrupting the scammers’ modus operandi which seeks to put their victims under pressure with the threat of arrest and, in this case, deportation unless the money is paid immediately.

“We would appeal to all retailers who sell iTunes and Google Play cards to put in place a process where staff are aware of this issue and will question customers when they attempt to make purchases involving unusually high amounts of money.”

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Enquiries can be made to Consumer Protection by email or by calling 1300 30 40 54.

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