Who Are You?
You get a call from someone saying she works for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). She seems to know exactly who you are. She might already know your name and address, and might even know what kind of visa you’ve applied for. She says you have to pay a new fee – and, if you don’t wire money immediately, your hopes of immigrating will be lost. She might even threaten you with arrest or deportation.
Except it’s not really USCIS calling. It’s a scammer who’s targeting foreign nationals, looking for their money and personal information.
If this sounds familiar, it might be because we posted about a similar scam last month. Those scammers also tried to sound like USCIS, and they tried to convince you to pay them. These scammers, however, have taken the scam to a new level.
These scammers have spoofed the real USCIS phone number – which means the real USCIS number shows up on your caller ID, even though the scammers are calling from an entirely different number. They’ve even mocked up the USCIS phone tree, so if you call them back on a number the scammer gave you, it sounds very much like you’re calling the real USCIS. Since these scammers have personal information about you, and they’re calling from what seems like a USCIS phone number, the call seems like the real thing. But it’s not.
What should you do if you get a call like this?
- Whatever they tell you, don’t wire any money. “Don’t give payment over the phone to anyone who calls claiming to be a USCIS official,” said USCIS Press Secretary Chris Bentley. “USCIS will never call someone to ask for any form of payment over the phone.”
- Hang up and call the real USCIS at 1-800-375-5283. Tell them what happened. They’ll tell you what to do next.
Remember, you can’t be sure of who’s calling you. Never give your personal information – like your I-94 number, “A” number, or visa control number – to anyone who calls you, no matter who they claim to be. Hang up and call the real USCIS: 1-800-375-5283.
To learn more about this scam, read the USCIS consumer alert.