Fraud Alert: DHS and Consulates Warn of New Telephone Scam

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a warning in relation to a recent trend in telephone scams. The DHS warns that criminals are posing as government representatives, calling intended victims, and asking for funds to be sent via electronic transfer to resolve some alleged immigration issue a family member is experiencing.

Posing as U.S. Immigration Officials

As explained by the DHS, the scam works as follows. The scammer calls a prospective victim, posing as some type of immigration official, such as a representative of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), an agent of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), or a consular officer. The criminal claims that a family member either needs funds to qualify for some form of immigration benefit, or to resolve an immigration problem. The victim of the scam is then directed to wire the necessary funds to a particular bank account.

Caller ID Spoofing

As explained in the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, Immigration Scam: Be Cautious (16.Sep.2013), scammers may engage in a practice known as caller ID spoofing, by which the number and/or identity displayed on one’s caller ID is misleading or inaccurate. So, even if the caller ID indicates the call originates from a legitimate source, this should not be relied upon.

Immigration Officials Do Not Demand Payment Over the Phone

The DHS reminds stakeholders that neither the DHS nor U.S. consulates ever call an individual to demand payment for a service over the phone. The DHS asks that anyone who receives a call that appears to be such a scam to decline to make payment and to take note of the number and related details of the call. These scams have mainly been reported in portions of southwest Texas, but should be reported to appropriate local, state, or federal law enforcement authorities.


It is important for the public to remain skeptical of con artists who may pose as officials demanding payment or personal information over the phone. This latest scam, while troubling, is just one more in a long line of attempts perpetrated by unscrupulous individuals who pose as government officials in order to secure personal information and/or money from victims.


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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.