Reports are surfacing of a scam involving immigrants to America receiving telephone calls that appear to originate with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The caller tells the immigrant that there is a new fee for visa applications and if the immigrant does not wire the funds right away, their visa application will summarily be denied. Some calls even threaten arrest or deportation. Some callers also ask for personal information for verification purposes. In all cases this is a scam. Some people have indeed wired the requested funds only to find out later that it was all a scam while others have become victims of identity theft after providing personal information for “verification”purposes.
Whenever you receive a telephone call, particularly one that asks for money or information, you can never be sure that the caller is legitimate. Scammers are able to “spoof” or copy phone numbers so that they may appear to be legitimate on your Caller ID, but they are not. Never give personal information or provide money to someone in response to a telephone call unless you have independently confirmed that it is legitimate. In this case, if a person receiving the call had called the real USCIS, they would have learned that this was a scam. The telephone number for the real USCIS is 800-375-5283. You also should always be wary when someone asks you to wire funds because that is a first choice for scammers because it is impossible to get the money back once it is wired.