Immigration practitioners are reporting immigration‐related scams targeting H‐1B workers and other foreign nationals. Due to the significant amount of detailed information regarding H‐1B LCA filings on the DOL website, scam artists are often able to provide enough detail to sound knowledgeable and credible.
Employers are encouraged to make sure their H‐1B employees are aware of the various types of scams and scammer tactics reported recently, including:
- Scammers targeting people based on foreign‐sounding names and/or based on information gathered about companies hiring H‐1B workers. The scammers can get a lot of information from various websites, Labor Condition Application and PERM labor certification listings from the Department of Labor, LinkedIn, social media, and other sources. Scammers are able to collect information in a variety of ways and use it to convince unwitting victims of their purported authenticity. The scammers then suggest there is a problem with the victim’s immigration status and require that the victim make payments in order to correct the problem. Scammers direct the victim to obtain merchant cards or vouchers for a certain amount of money, and provide the voucher numbers over the phone.
- Scammers claiming to be from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. They call and state that the victim's paperwork has problems, and they threaten to deport the victim or to send authorities to the person's home if he or she does not cooperate. The scammers then order the person to go to the nearest convenience store, obtain merchant cards or vouchers for a certain amount of money, and provide the voucher numbers over the phone. Once the scammers obtain the voucher numbers, they disconnect the call and disappear with the victim's money.
- Scammers claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), who state that the victim owes back taxes and order the victim to provide a merchant card or voucher numbers before disappearing with the victim's money.
- Scammers using "Caller ID spoofing" to display a telephone number that is not really their own, and that may appear to be from a legitimate government agency. Call spoofing may be used in conjunction with any of the above‐referenced scams.
- Scammers sending e‐mails claiming that the recipient is a Diversity Visa lottery winner and must send in a fee.
- Scammers claiming faster processing times or guaranteeing visas, work authorizations, or green cards, for a fee.
Please be aware that U.S. Government agencies do not conduct business by calling to demand a payment. U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (CIS) notes, “USCIS will not call you to ask for any form of payment over the phone. Don’t give payment over the phone to anyone who claims to be a USCIS official.”
Foreign Nationals should beware any of the following:
- Emails or telephone calls to the foreign national from anyone suggesting that there is a problem with the individual’s immigration paperwork. The U.S. DHS, CIS, Immigration & Customs Enforcement, and other Federal agencies will send official correspondence to foreign nationals via U.S. mail.
- Any call or email demanding or requiring payment.
- Any request for payment in untraceable forms such as merchant cards or vouchers.
- Any request or instruction that the foreign national not discuss the call or email with anyone.
- Any request for personal information, such as a Social Security Number, passport number, or alien registration number.
- Any attempt to sell immigration forms. Blank Government forms and applications are available free of charge.
- Any call or email claiming you have won the DV lottery. The Department of State will not call or send emails to applicants to notify them that they have won the DV lottery.
- Any call or correspondence purporting to be from the INS or Immigration & Naturalization Service. The INS no longer exists. Correspondence regarding pending immigration matters will come from the USCIS.
For periodic, updated information on immigration‐related scams and scam tactics, visit the CIS webpage on Common Scams. Applicants who have been the victim of an immigration‐ related scam may file complaints with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to report anyone falsely claiming to be a representative of any Federal Government agency or business.