March 05, 2019
The Department of Homeland issued a fraud alert this month warning individuals of a telephone spoofing scam.
Scammers recently have been using DHS immigration phone numbers to scam individuals across the country into thinking their identities have been stolen, according to a recent warn from the DHS's Office of Inspector General. The perpetrators are identifying themselves as government employees with "U.S. immigration."
The caller IDs on the phony calls often has appeared as "DHS HQ Operator" at (202) 282-8000 and "DHS Civil Rights and Civil Liberties" at (202) 401-1474, officials said.
These scammers have obtained personal information from callers by telling the victims their identities have been stolen, then threatening them with arrest unless they make immediate payments through various channels. Some individuals also have been contacted by scammers via email with an address ending in "uscis.org," authorities said.
Government agencies recommend registering your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry, so if you still receive telemarketing calls, there is a good chance the call is a scam. Also, use caution with caller ID, as "spoofing" calls will change the phone number that appears on your phone's screen.
"While we investigate the situation, we would like to remind the public that DHS never uses its HQ Operator or CRCL number to make outgoing calls of this nature," DHS said in a statement. Individuals receiving phone calls from these numbers should not provide any personal information. It continues to be perfectly safe to place calls to the DHS HQ Operator and CRCL numbers, and DHS officials may continue to be contacted by dialing the DHS HQ Operator number."
If you or someone you know has received a scam call like this, call the DHS Office of Inspector General hotline at (800) 323-8603 or file an online complaint here.