Don't get caught in a visa scam!
Top tips for avoiding scams
Stop – take your time before giving money or personal information.
Think – ask yourself if the message or call could be fake?
Protect – act quickly if something feels wrong.
STOP and THINK if you hear/see any of these
- Guaranteed Visa: No visa is guaranteed. There is a fixed set of rules and only if all the conditions are met will a visa be granted.
- Your only chance or once in a lifetime opportunity: This is a false claim.
- Register and Pay immediately to show interest: The Australian Government will not ask for a fee to show interest.
- Only the scammer can pay the Fees: The scammer may also ask that you pay into a bank account or through a local mobile money wallet. Make it a point to pay your fees personally. Payment of the Visa Application Charge must be made online via ImmiAccount by card, PayPal or BPAY as you submit the application. Further information is available here.
- I have a Special Relationship with the Department: There is no such thing as a special relationship. All agents are treated equally. No one can influence the outcome of a visa application or the visa decision making process. Only authorised officers from the Department of Home Affairs can issue you with a visa and only if you meet all the visa requirements.
- I assure you that all is well: Do not go by their verbal assurances. Ask for documentary evidence. It is a good thing to monitor the progress of your visa application personally. You can check the status of your application on ImmiAccount
- I need your original documents such as passport, birth certificate or marriage certificate: Usually only certified copies are required. In the event that an original document is required, the department will contact you directly for this.
- Fake website/email addresses: This is an email scam which uses email addresses that are designed to appear as genuine Department of Home Affairs official addresses. Example of email addresses that are NOT genuine are those ending in @australiamail.com, @consultant.com, @australia.vfsglobalembassy.com, @asia.com, @ausimmigdept.au.pn, @australianvisa.au.pn, @australian-high-commission.org , @counsellor.com, @australia-govt-homeaffairs.in or @diplomats.com do not belong to High Commission, Consular or VFS staff
- There is only one official Australian Government provider of visas - the Department of Home Affairs. The Department's official website is www.homeaffairs.gov.au.
- If you receive an email from the Australian High Commission in Suva, the email address must end in "@dfat.gov.au".
- The Department of Home Affairs charges a one-off fee at the time you lodge your visa application. Fees are paid directly to the Department and does not require an agent to pay this fee on your behalf. Payment of the Visa Application Charge must be made online via ImmiAccount by card, PayPal or BPAY as you submit the application. Further information is available at https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/trav/visa/fees/how-to-pay-for-an-application.
- No one can influence the outcome of a visa application or the visa decision making process. Only authorised officers from the Department of Home Affairs can issue you with a visa and only if you meet all the visa requirements.
- The Department of Home Affairs does not have any special relationships with outside agencies and does not give preferential treatment to anyone.
- You are responsible for the information in your application. It should always be kept in mind that regardless of who completes an application, the applicant is ultimately responsible for the application and to ensure the information on the application is correct and the accompanying documents are genuine.
- Be suspicious if you are contacted by phone, post, email or approached in person about a visa you did not apply for. Walk away from the person, hang up the phone immediately or ignore the email/letter! The Government does not contact people out of the blue offering visas.
- If you wish to use an Australian migration agent, check that they are registered on the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority website (www.mara.gov.au) or if they are operating outside Australia to check with the relevant Business Registration office that they are a legitimate business.
- Never give or send anyone your original identity documents. Government departments may wish to view your original documents in person or may ask for certified photocopies but should never ask to keep your original documents.
- Never provide your personal, credit card or banking details in an email or over the phone-scammers will use your details to commit identity fraud or steal your money.
- If you think you have provided your bank account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.
- For more useful information read the guidance on protecting yourself from scams.
- Most importantly spread the word to your friends and family to protect them.