Over the past month, we have seen an increase in telephone scams targeting foreign nationals living and working in the United States, particularly of Indian origin. The USCIS has posted more information about this scam on its website at http://blog.uscis.gov/2013/08/scam-alert-caller-id-spoofing.html.

The scammers present themselves as US Immigration officials, claim to have discovered an issue with the victim’s immigration documentation, threaten the victim with revocation of their status or deportation, and demand immediate payment via money transfer or PayPal, often while the victim is still on the phone. 

The US government never asks for any form of payment or personal information over the phone. This is a high-pressure (and often effective) phone call that quotes enough official-sounding language to sound legitimate to unsuspecting foreign nationals.

The best response to such a call is simply to hang up the phone.  More information on immigration scams and how to report such calls can be found on the USCIS “Avoid Scams” website at: http://www.uscis.gov/uscis-tags/unassigned/avoid-scams

We recommend notifying your company’s foreign national employees about these scams, and to never agree to pay money to a caller to resolve a purported immigration issue.