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Beware: Telephone Scams Targeting Foreign Nationals in the U.S.

November 8, 2013

Recent reports have emerged of two telephone scams targeting foreign nationals in the U.S., particularly foreign nationals of Indian decent.

Scammers Posing as Agents of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

There have been several reports of scammers posing as USCIS agents and calling visa applicants to demand money or personal information. Scammers threaten victims with revocation of status, arrest, or deportation unless they make immediate payments. In addition to demanding money, scammers may also ask for personal information from victims (such as passport numbers).

Scammers Posing as Agents of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

There have also been reports of scammers posing as IRS agents and targeting foreign nationals of Indian decent in California, New Jersey, and Missouri. Scammers are calling foreign nationals claiming that they owe money to the IRS, and that they must make immediate payments through pre-loaded debit cards or wire transfers. Scammers are threatening victims with deportation and arrest if they refuse to cooperate.

If You Receive a Suspicious Call from USCIS or the IRS

If you receive a suspicious call from someone claiming to be from USCIS or the IRS, the best strategy is to immediately discontinue the conversation and hang up the phone.

Do not wire money: USCIS and the IRS will never call to ask for any form of payment over the phone. Authentic communication from either USCIS or the IRS will likely be made through regular mail, on official agency letterhead.

Do not provide personal information: Do not provide information such as your passport number, date of birth, or address to a suspicious caller.

For additional information on the above telephone scams, please visit http://www.uscis.gov/avoid-scams/common-scams and http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Warns-of-Pervasive-Telephone-Scam.