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Phone Crooks Call Queens Immigrants

New ‘Spoofing’ Scam Threatens Deportation

A local lawmaker is warning residents about a new scam targeting Queens’ immigrant population.

In scam called “spoofing,” fraudsters are calling people and posing as officials from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), according to Rep. Grace Meng.

The scammers use prank phone call apps to fool caller IDs into displaying that they are calling from a U.S. government number.

Once they have their victims on the phone, the perpetrators ask for personal information such as social security numbers, passport numbers and alien registration numbers. Then they tell victims there are problems with their immigration record, offering to fix the issues for a price.

The scammers often threaten deportation if the victims don’t pay up, according to information from Meng’s office.

The congresswoman said residents should be cautious who they give information to over the phone.

“If people receive a call from somebody claiming to be a USCIS official, they should absolutely not provide any personal information,” Meng said. “If the caller asks for money, they should hang up immediately. These are not government officials trying to correct a problem. They are con artists trying to rip people off. The public should know that USCIS never asks for any payments or personal information over the phone. The public should be on guard against this outrageous scam, and not fall victim to it.”

In December 2013, Meng introduced lgislation to crack down on spoofers and the technology they use to trick unsuspecting residents. The bill would tighten the Truth in Caller ID Act to place penalties on those who misrepresent themselves using called IDs.

Those who have fallen victim to such telephone scams are encouraged to report incidents to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov or by contacting local law enforcement, it was noted.

Constituents concerned about their immigration record, can contact Meng’s office at 1-718-445-7860 or USCIS at www.uscis.gov.

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