EDINBURG, Texas – A new type of telephone scam targeting migrants, requesting an electronic transfer of money to resolve some aspect of their family’s immigration cases in the United States, is now on the radar of the Department of Homeland Security’s Joint Task Force-West South Texas Corridor (JTF-W STC) and consular officials from several neighboring countries.
People are receiving unsolicited calls from scammers posing as an authority figures from several DHS entities like Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers and U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) agents, as well as consular officers and shelter administrators, where they request money to be sent electronically to help their family obtain some service or consideration, or to purchase travel tickets. The scammers then recommend or demand the money be wired to an account to fulfill that service or prevent an adverse action.
“It’s always disappointing when scammers try to take advantage of what can be emotionally charged situations,” according to Jaime Salazar, the Chief of Staff at the JTF-W STC. “Thankfully, we have excellent relations with our international partners and we’re working to ensure that we spread the word to help prevent people from being taken advantage of.”
The Department of Homeland Security and the consulates DO NOT solicit money over the phone. If such calls are received, people should decline to wire any funds, make a note of the number and any other pertinent details about the call, and report the incident to the authorities for investigation, as well as to their appertaining consulate.
The public is encouraged to take a stand against crime in their communities and to help save lives by reporting suspicious activity to the Rio Grande Valley Operations Center at 800-863-9382, its new international number at 001-880-863-9382, and through the WhatsApp messaging service at 1-956-295-0887.
Please visit www.cbp.gov to view additional news releases and other information pertaining to Customs and Border Protection. Follow us on Twitter at @CBPRGV.