Customs Watch

Customs Watch

Customs Watch is Customs and Border Protection’s national information collection program that draws on the knowledge of industry and the community to protect Australia's borders by reporting suspicious border activities.

Customs Watch members know their local environments. Members range from multi-national corporations to individuals, are based in capital cities, regional centres and remote areas, and operate in environments as different as cargo logistics and caravan parks.

By reporting suspicious activities, Customs Watch members actively help Customs and Border Protection protect Australia's border.

Report Suspicious Behaviour

Customs and Border Protection encourages you to report suspicious behaviour to Customs Watch toll-free on 1800 06 1800, or by using the online form.

The 1800 06 1800 number is answered by experienced Customs and Border Protection officers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Your information could be the key piece of the puzzle that leads to the seizure of narcotics or other prohibited imports. You may provide information to Customs and Border Protection anonymously.

If you are calling from overseas or using a satellite phone, please call +61 2 6246 1325 (normal call costs will apply).

Report now.

What to Report

Customs and Border Protection is interested in information about:

  • Importation of illicit drugs and precursor chemicals
  • People smuggling
  • Terrorism
  • Illegal and dangerous weapons
  • Performance and image enhancing drugs (steroids)
  • Illegal importation or exportation of currency
  • Illegal importation and exportation of fauna
  • Illegal pornography and child abuse images, and
  • Counterfeit goods.

Just a small piece of information could lead to a big seizure.

What to look out for

Common Indicators

Suspicious Behaviour
The person is:

  • Overly nervous, evasive or refusing reasonable assistance,
  • Attempting to conceal their identity,
  • Preferring to settle accounts early, or
  • Enquiring about Customs, Police or other Law Enforcement Agencies’ activities.

Suspicious Activity
The person is:

  • Interested in specific or unusual locations,
  • Insisting on paying in cash only,
  • Making unusual purchases, or
  • Carrying unusual equipment or hardware.

Suspicious Goods
Are the goods:

  • Misdescribed, misspelt or have incorrect information on them,
  • Labelled in an obscure manner,
  • Damaged, modified or tampered with,
  • Too heavy or too light for the given goods description, or
  • Emitting an unusual odour.

Customs Watch Brochure

Customs Watch protects information


(PDF 280KB)

Customs Watch Information Protection Statement

Information provided to the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service’s (ACBPS) Customs Watch program will be assessed by ACBPS and appropriate action will be taken based on that assessment.

Information can be provided to the Customs Watch program anonymously 24 hours a day through either the 1800 06 1800 phone number, international and satellite phone number +61 2 6246 1325 or via the online reporting form on the internet web page.

ACBPS does not covertly record your personal information. Calls to the 1800 06 1800 number may be recorded for quality assurance purposes.

You will be given the opportunity to tell the operator that you do not wish your call to be recorded. You can still remain anonymous even if the call is recorded.

If you choose to provide your personal information to the Customs Watch program, these details will be separated from the information that you provide and securely managed.

If you provide your personal information and advise us that you wish to be contacted to provide further information or to receive feedback on your referral, ACBPS will aim to follow up your referral in a timely manner as dictated by the urgency of your referral.

ACBPS may be required by law to disclose your personal information, for example by order of a court or under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth). Where your personal information is required by law to be disclosed, ACBPS will use suitable methods to protect your personal information. This may include a public interest immunity claim or the use of protective orders (for example, by applying for a suppression or non-publication order) as appropriate. Where your personal information is subject to a Freedom of Information claim, exemptions may be claimed and you will be consulted prior to release of your personal information.

There may also be circumstances in which ACBPS is authorised by law to disclose your personal information to other government agencies under section 16 of the Customs Administration Act 1985 (Cth) (CA Act). The disclosure of your personal information as authorised by law will only occur in limited circumstances that comply with section 16 of the Customs Administration Act (Cth). In such circumstances the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and the Information Privacy Principles are applicable and will be complied with.

The confidentiality of your personal information is of paramount importance to us. If you have any concerns about being identified as providing information to the Customs Watch program, please consider making your referral to Customs Watch anonymously.

We thank you for your participation in the Customs Watch program. modified: 22 July, 2013 10:25 AM