Va. woman targeted by immigration phone scam part of trend

WASHINGTON — The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office is warning of an increase in phone scams targeting immigrants.

The scammers may be taking advantage of fears tied to President Donald Trump’s stance on stringent enforcement of immigration laws and curbing illegal immigration.

In a case reported to investigators on Friday, a Sterling woman says she was contacted by someone who said they were “from 911.” She was told she was facing arrest because her immigration paperwork was missing, and she was talked into making a payment with iTunes gift cards to supposedly resolve the problem.

The sheriff’s office wants people to know that Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services do not accept payments through Western Union, PayPal or with iTunes cards.

Also, USCIS never asks people to pay immigration fees to a person on the phone or through email.

Earlier this month, New York’s attorney general issued an urgent fraud alert warning of rip-off artists claiming to be ICE agents and demanding money.

Read more about common immigration scams on the USCIS website. Besides phone scams, other scams include fake websites that look affiliated to USCIS but aren’t and suspicious job offers via email.

If you think you’ve been a victim of an immigration scam, read more about how to report it here.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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