USCIS Warns of Telephone Scams that Target Immigrants12 Oct 2016
The complicated and stressful nature of the U.S. immigration system leaves many foreign nationals vulnerable to exploitation attempts by scammers. A recent trend in immigration scams has caused the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to issue a warning on its official blog, The Beacon. The USCIS warns that scammers demanding personal information and money are targeting foreign nationals.
Scammer Calls Posing as Government Official
Similar to other immigration scams, these criminals place a call from a number that appears to be a legitimate government office and pose as a government official and/or law enforcement officer. The USCIS explains that the scammer claims that there is some issue with the prospective victim’s immigration case, and asks for personal details and often money to cover supposed fees. The scammer may threaten the victim with deportation if the foreign national fails to comply.
Never Provide Personal Information and Contact Authorities
The USCIS never asks for information or payment over the phone, and will only make contact through the mail on official USCIS stationery. The victim should immediately disconnect the phone if a scammer calls. The USCIS advises foreign nationals to refrain from giving out any personal information or making any payments over the phone.
Additionally, the USCIS cautions individuals to keep details of immigration applications private, by not discussing or sharing such information in any public area. Victims should contact local and federal authorities and report the incident.
Foreign nationals must be skeptical of any phone calls from supposed government officials, even if the caller ID appears to support the caller’s claims. If the USCIS requires payment or additional personal information, such requests are virtually always made in writing. Stakeholders must remain diligent to avoid becoming victims.
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