Thursday, July 25, 2013

USCIS Immigration Scam

AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association) have received multiple reports of a new phone scam, in which callers pose as officers of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The callers (scammers) have done their research before calling, so that they know the person’s name and address, and that the person is a not a citizen of the United States. These scammers are targeting applicants in various visa categories (F1, H1, L1, etc) or applicants outside US.

The caller then claims that USCIS has found discrepancies (inconsistent information) in the person’s immigration files and asks for personal immigration data such as an I-94 number, “A” number, or visa control number. This data should not be shared with anyone, as it can be used to get more of your personal information from USCIS or potentially to create false immigration documents in your name.

The caller next tells applicant that USCIS charges a penalty for such discrepancies. The caller instructs the person to send certain amount of money, via Western Union, to a specific non USCIS authorized address.

In rare cases the scammers have found out the address in their home country and setup a visit to talk to family and friends about the applicant.

If you receive any call from anyone stating that he/she is from USCIS, be wary. Do not give out any personal information to these callers. The agency rarely calls anyone - they tends to rely more on written communications using USPS. This is especially true if you are represented by any attorney, in which case USCIS would normally direct all such inquiries to the attorney rather than to you.

Be sure to ask for the caller’s name, department, and a phone number at which you can call back. If you don’t have an attorney, call the main USCIS support number (1-800-375-5283) to check whether you were contacted by an actual USCIS officer.

If you received a suspicious call, talk to your attorney (if you have one). Also report it to law enforcement authorities, in particular the FBI, and to the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

USCIS has setup an official page on avoiding scam. Please see the link below:

http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.e8b24a3cec33ca34c48bfc10526e0aa0/?vgnextoid=b9563ab7b8f3b210VgnVCM10000025e6a00aRCRD&vgnextchannel=b9563ab7b8f3b210VgnVCM10000025e6a00aRCRD

Please let your friends and family know about this and raise awareness on this issue. You can also share this blog post on your social media network.

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