Australian Government - Australian Customs and Border Protection Service

To protect Australia's borders and foster lawful trade and travel.

Customs Watch

Customs Watch

See something suspicious?

Your information could be the key piece of the puzzle that leads to the detection and seizure of dangerous drugs  or other prohibited imports such as illegal firearms. By reporting suspicious activities, you actively help protect Australia's border.

You can call Customs Watch, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, toll-free on 1800 06 1800, or by using our
online form. You can do this anonymously.

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

What is Customs Watch?

Customs Watch is Australian Customs and Border Protection’s program that receives information about suspicious activities. It relies on the knowledge of industry and the community. Customs Watch members know their local environments. Members range from large, multi-national corporations to community organisations to individuals - located  in capital cities, regional centres and remote areas, and in environments as varied as transport and cargo logistics,  caravan parks and fishing clubs.

Download the Customs Watch Brochure (PDF, 88kb)

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 import or export of currency
  • Illegal import and export of fauna
  • Illegal pornography and child abuse images, and
  • Counterfeit goods.

What to look out for

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
The goods are:

  • Mis-described, 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.

How we protect your information and identity

Industry and the Australian community can report information about suspicious or criminal activity at the border with anonymity and privacy. You should know that:

  • Customs Watch does not covertly record personal information;
  • a caller will be asked to tell the operator if they do not wish to be recorded;
  • People can use our online form to submit information anonymously, if they would prefer
  • any personal details that are provided are secured and managed separately to the referral
  • You can remain anonymous even if you give permission for your call to be recorded.

Customs and Border Protection operates in accordance with the  Privacy Act 1988 and the Information Privacy Principles to ensure your personal information is kept safe at all times.

In some cases, Customs and Border Protection may be required to disclose your personal information by law (eg a court order, or under the Freedom of Information Act), if you have shared such information with us.

Where this happens, Customs and Border Protection will use appropriate methods to protect your personal information. This may include a public interest immunity claim or the use of protective orders (e.g. applying for a suppression or non-publication order). 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.

Sometimes, we may also need to share your personal information with other Government agencies under section 15 of the Customs Administration Act 1985. Under such circumstances the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and the Information Privacy Principles are applicable and will be complied with.

If you have any concerns about being identified as providing information to Customs Watch, please consider making your referral anonymously.