DHS Office of Inspector General Publishes Fraud Warning

The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) yesterday published a fraud warning concerning telephone scams impacting immigrants and potential immigrants.

While not a new concern, there have been sufficient recent reports to trigger DHS OIG to issue this warning against providing funds, bank or credit card information, or personally identifying information in response to purported government inquiries by phone or e-mail.

Such scams, DHS OIG, warns, may claim to be about problems with immigration forms, violations of immigration or customs laws, lost or duplicate passports used abroad to commit crimes, packages supposedly containing drugs or other illegal materials detained at the border, or just generally “green card matters.”

The bulletin warns of scammers using incorrect terms to identify themselves such as “DHS
agent,” “DHS Private Investigator” or “Detective with DHS” (none of which exist as government job titles) and may use incorrect agency names such as “US Immigration Agency” or “Department of Customs and Border Security.”  They may e-mail from addresses not ending in “.gov” – which would be the origination top-level domain of any official US government e-mail.

USCIS OIG reminds people that they will never request money or gift cards, or requests payment via online services (Google Pay, Apple, PayPal, Venmo, Zelle etc.), will never ask for payment of a fine by phone, and will never call from any of the public-facing information numbers it lists publicly that may appear on caller ID services as “:USCIS,” “DHS,” etc.

USCIS OIG urges those impacted to report these scams by calling their 1-800-323-8603 hotline or filing a complaint online via their www.oig.dhs.gov web site.