Some immigration law firms in the United States have been facing a similar occurrence where scammers use different contact points like emails, websites, and calls. In a certain case, a client had received a phone call from a person claiming to be an immigration officer.
The caller ID showed that she was a government agency representative, and her assertions were firm and convincing enough to fool any certified and experienced professional. The client was threatened with an issuance of a warrant. Additionally, the client was threatened to stay on the call, claiming the call was “being recorded” and, therefore, not hung up.
If the call were to end, the police would be unable to assist. If money was paid instantly via online gift cards, the issue could be solved.
Upon revealing the incident on social media, several other scam alerts resembling the said case came up, and it has been understood that the scammers are going around using three major plots to establish their genuineness and petrifying the client. As an immigration law firm in Queens with 50+ years of combined experience. They are:
- That the client is in grave trouble with local, state, or federal law
- The solution to the problem is the payment of money, but not in the form of checks
- Not to terminate the call.
Here are some of the points one must remember to check in official emails from the USCIS about visa processing.
- Emails from the government mandatorily end in the domain“.gov;”
- Under no circumstance the USCIS will send an email specifying an individual and indicating approval for any visa or any other type of immigration benefit; and
- Under no circumstance will the USCIS ask for a money transfer from an individual through any means of contact ( Payments by Phone or Email).
- No government organization will ever threaten any individual over the phone, especially for financial gain.
- No government organization mandates that you keep your employees connected.
- The use of unconventional payment methods such as gift cards, Western Union, Moneygram, etc., is not required by any government agency.
- Caller IDs, emails, and webpages may all be easily made to look authentic.
- Callers like this should be ignored, and you should file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Our social role is to raise awareness, and knowledge is our best weapon.
- Many educational institutions provide specific cautions on their web pages for international students. If you are a student, you should also report any similar instances to the administrators at your school.
The US State Department has issued a warning statement:
” The Department of State, Office of Visa Services, advises the public of a notable increase in fraudulent emails and letters sent to Diversity Visa (DV) program (Visa Lottery) applicants. The scammers behind these fraudulent emails and letters are posing as the U.S. government in an attempt to extract payment from DV applicants.
All applicants should be familiar with information about DV scams provided by the Federal Trade Commission. Applicants are encouraged to review the rules and procedures for the DV program so that they know what to expect, when to expect it, and from whom. ”
The government websites which are important to follow to stay aware are :
- US State Department: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/fraud.html
- Federal Trade Commission:
- US Citizenship and Immigration Services: https://www.uscis.gov/scams-fraud-and-misconduct/avoid-scams/common-scams