Fake ICE Agent Scam in the Chicago Suburbs
Phone scammers have been calling U.S. citizens in Palos Park, a suburb southwest of Chicago. Palos Park police said in early August, 2 people received fraudulent calls from someone pretending to be an ICE agent with the threat of deportation. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a fraud alert warning citizens of the nation-wide scam in May.
What The Scammers Do
The fake ICE officers called the victims stating they have warrants for their arrest, and that unless victims send money orders or gift cards to the scammers, they will be detained and removed from the country. The phony ICE officers also procure the victims’ social security numbers. Palos Park police said officials won’t call asking for someone’s county of origin, immigration status or social security number. Anyone who does receive a suspicious call is asked to contact local authorities.
Chief Joe Miller of the Palos Park Police Department said:
“Anyone getting such a call should hang up and call the police. Police do not call people looking for someone’s country of origin or immigration status, nor do police ask you over the phone for your social security number.”
According to the DHS alert,
“The perpetrators of the scam represent themselves as employees with “U.S. Immigration” or other government entities. They alter caller ID systems to make it appear that the call is coming from the DHS HQ Operator number (202-282-8000) or the DHS Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) number (202-401-1474). The scammers obtain or verify personally identifiable information from their victims through various tactics, including by telling individuals that they are the victims of identity theft. The scammers also pose as law enforcement or immigration officials and threaten victims with arrest unless they make payments to the scammers using a variety of methods. The scammers have also emailed victims from email addresses ending in “uscis.org.” Many of the scammers reportedly have pronounced accents.”
What Should You Do Next?
If you believe you have been a victim of a telephone ICE scam, call the DHS OIG Hotline (1-800-323-8603) or file a complaint online via the DHS OIG website www.oig.dhs.gov. You can also contact the Federal Trade Commission to file a complaint.
The attorneys at Chicago’s Godoy Law Office fight for immigrant rights and help immigrants navigate the complex and numerous immigration policies, procedures, and regulations. If you need help with an immigration issue, please contact our office at 855-554-6369.