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Rip-Off Alert: Scammers play off immigrants' fears

(News 3)
(News 3)
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Updated: 9/16/2013 2:35 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3.com) -- Scammers posing as immigration officials are calling visa applicants to demand money or personal information. Scammers have even spoofed the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services phone number, so don't believe what you see on your caller ID.

How the scam works:

You answer a call from someone saying he works for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. He seems to know exactly who you are. The caller might have your name and address and even what kind of visa you've applied for.

The caller tells you that the government is charging a new fee for visa applications. If you don't wire the money immediately, your application will be denied. The caller might threaten you with arrest or deportation. He also might ask for personal information (such as your passport number) in order to "check for issues" in your file.

The call seems suspicious, so you check your caller ID. A quick Google search shows that the phone number is indeed from the USCIS office. Is this call for real?

It's not! It's a new twist on an ongoing scam. Scammers have recently spoofed USCIS's phone number, lending a new layer of credibility to their fake phone calls.

What to Do if "Immigration" Calls:

  • Don't wire any money. USCIS will never call someone to ask for any form of payment over the phone.
  • Just hang up and don't call back. Scammers have even recreated the USCIS phone tree. If you call back on a number the scammer gave you, it sounds like you're calling the real USCIS.
  • Call the real USCIS at (800) 375-5283. Tell them what happened, and they will instruct you on next steps.
  • Never give out your personal information. No matter who a caller claims to be, don't give him/her your I-94 number, "A" number, visa control number or any other personal information. Hang up and call the real USCIS.
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