Originally on WBTV

April 25, 2019

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein is cautioning people about an immigration scam that uses Homeland Security telephone numbers and several scamming techniques to steal people’s money.

Officials say scammers make it appear that they are calling from phone numbers belonging to federal immigration authorities.

The phone’s caller ID may display a number that appears to be one of the following numbers:

  • DHS HQ Operator: 202-282-8000
  • DHS Civil Rights and Civil Liberties: 202-401-1474
  • DHS OIG Hotline: 1-800-323-8603

If you answer the call, the scammers may say they represent the United States government or federal immigration authorities, such as the Department of Homeland Security.

They may say that you or someone in your family has been a victim of identity theft or fraud or that a family member is being held under an immigration detainer as an excuse to get you to give personal or financial information.

They may even threaten you with arrest or deportation if you refuse to share this information, using the threat as a way to demand payment.

“These calls can be scary, and it’s understandable to panic out of fear for your or your loved one’s safety. But no one from the federal government, law enforcement, or another government agency will contact you to threaten you with arrest,” a press release read.

Officials say the aforementioned phone numbers - the DHS OIG Hotline, HQ Operator, and CRCL lines - never make outgoing calls.

If you are contacted by someone claiming to be from the federal government or DHS, do not provide any personal information or bank account details, and do not make a payment. Hang up. Do not continue the conversation.

If you think you have been the victim of this scam, call the DHS Hotline directly to verify any concerns. File a complaint with NCDOJ’s Consumer Protection Division (1-877-5-NO-SCAM and http://ncdoj.gov/complaint), the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Trade Commission.

You can also call your cell phone provider and ask if they have a spam call-blocking app or service that can block unwanted calls.