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Authorities warns of fraudsters posing as ICE agents to swindle immigrants fearing deportation out of money

February 17, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Authorities warns of fraudsters posing as ICE agents to swindle immigrants fearing deportation out of money

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New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Immigration and Customs Enforcement has warned about scam artists acting as ICE agents demanding cash from foreign nationals to avoid deportation.

His office has seen a rise in scam reports targeting immigrants after last week’s ICE raids, in which 680 individuals who were illegally living in the U.S. were detained for deportation.

“It’s unconscionable for scam artists to prey on fear in immigrant communities by pretending to be ICE officers and demanding that families pay up to avoid deportation,” Schneiderman stated.

“I urge communities to protect themselves by learning about these scams – and contacting my office if they suspect fraud. We will use all tools and bring to justice those who commit fraud against our immigrant communities,” he added.

The attorney general’s office reported that one immigrant, living in Queens, was recently confronted by four men posing as ICE agents in uniforms, who threatened him with deportation unless he gave them all of his money.

The frightened immigrant gave the thieves $250, according to Newsday.

One of the most common immigration scams occurs through unsolicited texts or calls from someone pretending to be a government official who threatens them with deportation. Many times, the number on caller ID may resemble a legitimate government phone number.

Schneiderman emphasized that real federal officers would never ask for money or private financial details, threaten an individual with deportation unless they are paid, or raid a residence without a warrant.

The attorney general also warned immigrants to only work with a licensed attorney, never sign applications or documents they do not comprehend, and to never make payments via email or phone.

To report fraudulent activity, individuals are urged to call the Attorney General’s Immigration Services Fraud Unit Hotline at (866) 390-2992 or email Civil.Rights@ag.ny.gov.

Find out what to do if Immigration officials show up at your door

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