By Chinedu Onyejelem
Reports of attempted fraud on customers of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) are being treated by gardaí as “unsolicited calls”, it has emerged.
Metro Éireann learned that on 30 November last, the INIS issued a notice to its customers over phone calls to some immigrants facing deportation from Ireland by someone claiming to represent the service.
As reported by alleged victims, the caller says the subject faces deportation that day but can defer such with an ‘administration payment’ to an account in their country of origin.
It’s understood that the caller ID displays a real number at the INIS.
“This is an attempted fraud,” the INIS warned, adding that it “does not under any circumstances request payment for its services over the telephone”.
The notice advised all non-Irish nationals, and especially those facing deportation, to disregard such calls and inform the INIS or Garda if contacted, stating that “any persons facing deportation from the State will have been involved in a detailed process and would be notified in writing by registered post in advance of any planned deportation.”
Asked about the number of immigrants who may have been targeted in this suspected fraud, or how many INIS customers complained, the Department of Justice said “it was a very small number”, indicating fewer than five in total.
Justice added that the issue was reported to the Garda “as soon as the INIS became aware of it”.
A Garda spokesperson told Metro Éireann that the issue has been treated as “unsolicited calls” and that he was “unaware of any arrest”.
The spokesperson added: “This type of stuff happens day in, day out. In this instance, we’re talking about a small number of people who were allegedly contacted.”
However, INIS customers and members of the public are still advised “to be vigilant” regarding any unsolicited calls purporting to represent State services.