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Friday, November 08 2019

USCIS and Department of Homeland Security telephone numbers are being used in an ogoing scam to obtain personally identifiable information.

The Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman (Ombudsman) is warning its stakeholders of reports that certain Department of Homeland Security (DHS) telephone numbers, including the Ombudsman’s main telephone number, have been used recently as part of a telephone spoofing scam targeting individuals throughout the country.

Spoofing is the deliberate falsifying of information transmitted to a caller ID display to disguise an identity.

The scammers use various tactics, such as the threat of identity theft, to elicit sensitive information. Very little is known at this time, but please be aware that any government office should never ask for sensitive information over the telephone, such as Social Security numbers or credit card information.

USCIS uses only the following information to verify a caller:

  • Receipt Number.
  • Petitioner, Beneficiary, or Applicant - Name.
  • Petitioner, Beneficiary, or Applicant - Date of Birth.
  • Petitioenr, Beneficiary, or Applicant - Address. 

NEVER talk to anyone calling you from any government office over the phone that has called you, unless you have first called their office and you are expecting an immigration officer to return your call.

Any legitimate request from DHS will be sent by normal mail to you and a duplicate copy to your attorney. 

Here’s How the Scam Works Accorinding to USCIS:

A number appears on your caller ID that may look like a legitimate government number. When you answer, the person on the phone poses as a USCIS or other government official or law enforcement officer. The scammer will say that there is a problem with your application or additional information is required to continue the immigration process. Then, they will ask for personal and sensitive details and may demand payment to fix problems. The scammer may tell you to make a money transfer or go to a store to purchase a money order, voucher or make some other type of money exchange, payment or withdrawal. They may threaten you with deportation or other negative consequences if you do not pay. If you receive a call like that, we urge you to hang up immediately.

USCIS will never ask for any form of payment over the phone or in an email. If USCIS needs payment, they will mail a letter on official stationery requesting payment. Do not give payment over the phone to anyone who claims to be a USCIS official. 

Posted by: Christopher M. Pogue, Esq AT 07:46 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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