Scam – Threatening Phone Calls from 911 / USCIS

There have been innumerable victims during the past few months, due to the scam calls from 911 or some one claiming to be DHS (Department of Homeland Security) or USCIS officer. In this post I would like to focus on what the victims experienced and how you have to react during such situations.

911uscisscam

Scam Scenario Detailed

  • The victim receives a call either from 911 or some number, from a person claiming to be DHS or USCIS officer.
  • The caller threatens saying the victim are out of status and/or the victim have not updated the alien registration number and you would are deported and hence have to leave the country (USA) with in 24 hours
  • The caller also threatens not to disconnect the call and/or that the cops would come to your residence and arrest you.
  • After some conversation, the person ends up telling the victim he may overcome the situation by paying money through Money Transfer via Western Union.
  • The caller may also ask you to transfer money in different ways; may ask you to with draw cash from a bank and buy money pak cards from a gas station and scratch the number behind the card and ask the victim to read it out.
  • During this process, the caller immediately transfers the money to his account through some means.

This is a Scam! I would like to make you aware so that you may not get into such situation. This has been very common these days. In general,

  • A person would generally not receive a call from 911, unless you called 911 prior to you receiving the call.
  • Any USCIS notices would be sent by mail, but not through phone conversation.
  • When a person threatens you, do not panic, especially in this scenario.
  • Ask additional information to the caller and then decide on the situation.
  • The USCIS personnel would never ask you to transfer money using any money transfer methods or through cards, nor would never call you and talk for hours.

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Scam Calls in the Past

Got a call from 202-697-9674 claiming to be from USCIS. They were asking for Money Transfer via Western Union, clearly a scam. Surprised to see that they have so many information about me which is really scary…

Today, I got call from number 202-697-9674 . This seems to be some VoIP number in DC. This person told his name is Mike Coxhad and he is from department of homeland security. He then told me I did not update my aliens number. He asked me to deposit some money into American high commission, New Delhi in India. I said NO. He then asked me to send the money through Western Union money transfer. I told him, can I send the cheque and he hang up. 

The  same has happened to me..a person called david beck called me saying hes from the USCIS and said my alien number is not updated..i fell for the scam and  transferred $1715 through western union..then i realized it was a scam.it was too late.the number i got a cal from is 484-833-9002.People please beware..no  govt. Official will ask to pay the money immediately and never through western union. (source: complaintwire.org)

 How To React?

  • Try to communicate with people around you and see if you may call 911 from a different number to report this situation and get the call traced.
  • Drop the phone call, and see if the person calls you back.
  • Do not give any of your personal information, like your SSN, credit card details, etc.
  • Do not continuously converse with the caller. They may threaten you not to drop the call.
  • Ask Additional Information before deciding.
  • Think twice, before you do any thing.

You can report Immigration Scams to USCIS here.

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  • desi

    I had a similar experience, got calls from 911 and other numbers saying that they are calling from homeland security, USCIS, or local police. Best way to avoid this scam is to not receive the call from unknown number, if you receive it then ask them their name, phone number and address (they will not continue after asking these questions). I also tried reporting these incidences to the local police, they did not register my complaint as the crime had not happened. These calls can not be traced even by your phone service provider (tried calling AT&T).

  • Giri

    After my H1 extension happened, I got a call and he visited my office, enquired everything where he brought all the documents/copies what ever has been submitted for extension to USCIS, but here I did not receive any email prior to his call after we met for an hour or so as he did all cross verification, status, along with client/HR/managers mails/call later mail exchanges happened. But thanks for sharing this information.

  • Puneet

    I have also received such calls a number of times. The information that they gave about me was not up to date. And I figured out that they are getting this information from Job portals such as Naukri.com etc. The information that they provided about me was an exact match with my Naukri.com profile. First few calls asked my SSN and later they asked for my Foreign Citizenship Number that I completely refused to provide.

    Be careful and do not provide any information over the phone!!

    • desi

      Puneet: I also suspect that they are getting this information from Naukri.com.

      • Neil

        I think you are right, my friend posted his resume on Naukri.com and he got the call next day

        • Vishal

          You are right, same case with me as well

  • Bazzinga

    Received same kind of call few hours ago. Guy in very heavy Indian accent identified himself as Kevin Marsh from State Police Department Badge Number 214965. He also gave me my Case Number (filed by USCIS) and my deportation number. Thanks to this forum I already knew this was coming, so I was very calm. He started with saying that USCIS has filed a case against me and they are hunting me down. Then I asked him what the case is about so he replied that he DON”T know (lol). Then he said I must leave my house immediately as USCIS will visit my house and arrest me (He wanted me to run and not get arrested). I said I am at my work place and not at home. Then he asked me to confirm my address, I refused to tell him my address but he already knew it. He said do I live at XYZ address to that I replied yes. Then he said I am acting very smart so now he will make sure that I will be in big trouble and people will come to arrest me in 15 minutes at my home. I said I am at my work place and not home, so he asked me how far I work from my home. I said if they know everything about me they must know where I work, so better they send the police at my work place and I will co-operate with the proceedings. Then he got real mad and said that I am acting too smart (hell yeah I am). He said it will be embarrassing for me if the cops show up at my work place, to that I said I have not done anything wrong so I am not afraid of getting arrested even at work place. That pissed him off, he told me that just wait for 15 min. and I will be in jail. It’s been 2 hrs and I am writing this post in my AC office :P
    So people stay calm if you receive any call like this, don’t panic. DO NOT send any money in any possible way.
    THANK YOU H1BWIKI for your great work… I really appreciate it. :)

  • ABCD

    I received call from 201-307-7811,saying that he was an officer from the credit bureau department,CA.He said that I had missed something in the tax payment and offered us to pay some money to get the details,i am pretty sure that I didn’t miss anything in the tax payment and I also have all the proofs.I have not received any balance due notice directly from the office.He threatened me that we missed something while we did the tax procedures at the IRS(“something” was the word used by him when we tried again and again asking him about what exactly we missed in our tax payment) and that the bureau would file a case against me and then he offered me to sort matter outside of court.I think no Govt. official would directly call anyone ask some kind of payment for giving any official details.I think it was a fraud or scam call.

  • for people

    I received such a call today.. thanks to h1bwiki for sending such emails through.. though I had not read this email but I remembered the subject line and came in handy today.. I got the call from USCIS # 800-375-5283..

  • fell

    I got a call yesterday from 911 & 800-375-5283 and i fell for the scam :( i paid $1950 penalty for not updating A number and then $2850 for deportation cancellation fee. I wish i had read this post earlier but they had good detail information on me and had plaid it out pretty well. Hope nobody else falls for this scam.

  • ssp

    The same thing happened with me today, The moment I said that I know about the scam of USCIS,, they hung up straight.

  • rai

    Yesterday I got a call from this number 7035747061 telling me he is from some federal department and IRS had leveled serious charges against me and there is non-bailable arrest warrant against me and my wife. We will sent to jail or pay a fine of 60000 $ . Our passport will be taken away and all other things… to avoid these scenario I need to immediately pay 2500$ online……
    I got suspicious and I didn’t disclose any vital personal information , because of following

    · when he was able to pronounce my name correctly (most local Americans can’t )
    · He was insisting to pay fine right now , he was referring to IRS filled in 2010-11 when I was not on US soil.
    · He could not tell me my exact address

    I have reported the incident with IRS team using http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Scams-Consumer-Alerts

  • Bruce Wayne

    My friend got this call last week, so yesterday I setup a fake Naukri account with fake name and fake details; guess what – i got a call today (from legit USCIS number) calling me by that fake name and going through all that “alien number” crap; i kelp talking to him while I asked my colleagues to call the Police, to see if they can trace the call or something – Police said they wouldn’t do that, but the lesson to be learnt here:

    Naukri.com is one source for these guys, and cannot be trusted with important information

    • Bruce Wayne

      And I am pretty sure it was Indian guys faking American accent.

    • John Caplan

      Hi, I just received a similar call today. Can you please go to your naukri account and find out which emploer viewed your profile on the date you received this call.

      • Bruce Wayne

        Sure. I received the call on 8 Oct 2013. I suspect the following “employers” after doing a cross-check with my friend:

        1. Celtic Research and Technologies Private
        NOIDA
        CRM/ IT Enabled Services/BPO

        Note that the none of the links are active on the web page http://www.celticservices.net

        2. MFI Group
        Nairobi
        Software Services

        • John Caplan

          Quite Interesting… Even my profile was searched by:

          Celtic Research and Technologies Private
          NOIDA
          CRM/ IT Enabled Services/BPO

          That too on the same day… looks like something is fishy here..

        • Archana Selvam

          Thank you for the info. I have also received the same call few mins ago. Have checked my naukri profile and it is the same company that has viewed my profile yesterday.

  • Ankur

    The most sad part about this entire scam is that it is Indians trying to loot fellow Indians outside our country as well. There is no limit to this insatiable monetary greed that is so rooted in so many such Indians.

    • Vijay

      From my deep experience growing up with Bangladeshis I can definitely tell you, they have the accent of a Bengali guy forced into speaking English. Stop making such sweeping baseless allegations against Indians. And if you think there is ‘looting’ in India, I have only three words for you, “Welcome to America”. lolz

  • Shah

    I received this kind of call yesterday from “Emergency number” and today from 911. we called back 911 and they said they have not called.
    Police came to our place for investigation. They said they are not sure who can be that. When we asked to trace that number, they gave us some detective agency number to find out if it is normal to get this kind of call.

  • Friend

    I received a call from 911 this morning around 11A.M from Sg. Steve Marsh and he asked my home address and they have to get me and have to deport me. Then he transferred the call to Immigration department. The person told his name is Allen Lake. He wanted me to update my Alien number, DS-230 and AR-11. When I asked him to give me his number to call back once I talk to my Lawyer. Then he said he can resolve this but I need to decide right now over the phone. He also said that I can not come back if I don’t pay the penalties. He had some random information about me. Friends ….. Please do not fall for this kind of threat. USCIS don’t call you like this. They send you a notice. Simply hang up the phone or try to ask his number to call back. Report that number to 911 if you want to. Be safe guys. These people do not sound like American. I am sure they are Indians.

    • Anonymous

      I received exactly the same call yesterday.

    • Akhil

      same thing happened with me. It was panic situation but there were no of things fishy. I feel sad that I could not understand that Steve Marsh won’t have desi’s accent and then someone won’t prevent you from taking legal help in US

  • Anonymous

    I received a call from an unknown number today, which I couldn’t answer; thanks to the poor AT&T network. This guy’s name was Steven Jones and he left me a voicemail saying that he is calling from the USCIS Immigration Services. “It seems that there has been some mix up in your paper work. It seems that you have to leave the country immediately. If you could, give me a call, 877-267-LEAVE THE USA”
    Obviously I was scared for a moment and so discussed it with my supervisor. He said that there’s nothing to worry about and as everyone has rightly posted, USCIS will never call you or ask you to leave immediately without a prior notice by mail. We tried calling the number and it was an auto-repair shop and surprisingly their number was different. Anyways, I haven’t received any follow up call and even if I do, its not going to matter. Never end up paying to someone who cannot establish identity and evidence; and always seek an attorney before you resolve the matter on your own. If you have not done anything wrong, you shouldn’t be scared by such fake calls. For international students, you should consult your school’s Office of International Students Services and confirm if there is an issue. They can verify any government related issue and help you resolve the same.

  • Prabodh

    I had received a similar call, read my detailed account: http://prabodhmhalgi.blogspot.com/2013/08/a-fake-story.html

  • Googly

    I had received similar call 2 months back, person claimed to be calling from Washinton DC.I had not come across this forum and the caller already had my many personal details, so I thought it’s a genuine call.The conversation went on for half an hour and then the person transferred the call to someone else, this time it was a girl. She said I have not filed for foreign citizenship card, and foreign ministry in Delhi mandates this for Indian. In absence of that I will be deported. And then as conversation goes further, she offers me to have it filed through her agent in India, and there will be a fee for that, she further asks me the postal code of the address where I am now and if there is any US post office near by. She searched one for me. I asked her details about which form in post office to fill and all that to which she said she will let me know once I reach post office. At this point I start getting skeptical, and then she says don’t hang up else she would deport me. Now I am more skeptical. I started asking more details, and then asked her to send me email from USCIS email id, which she refused..and on few further questions she hung up. I was saved.

  • Googly

    I got another call today, this time from 911. The person says since I did not cooperate last time, they would deport me today and wanted to know which airport I would like to be deported at..I asked what is my crime, and whether the call was to inform me or to take other inputs from me. the person said since last time I wanted the instructions in writing, they had sent me an email to which I had not responded and now they will deport me. I did not panic, just kept on repeating I don’t know what you are talking about. The caller says police is coming in 15 mins to arrest me..I kept on repeating I don’t know what he is talking about and then he hung up.

  • rose

    I got this type of call few months back. The person called from uscis and give warning that i will be arrested within 24 hours and my ssn no will be no longer available. I need to make payment immediately or i will be deported to india within a day. First time, i got scared and by the second call (same type ) , i realized i m on visa and i dont have ssn. This post is late . These types of calls are coming from about a year now to everyone in our town. Pls do not forward any money to them . uscis do not call , they send a letter to your home..

  • Vishal

    I got call today from 911 from person claiming officers from DHS. He asked me the same question, why haven’t you updated your alien registration while entering to USA. Thankfully the call get disconnected because I was driving that time. I called to company immigration then they made me aware of these hoax call. One thing it was really scary and frustrating.

    We should always keep in mind that USCIS always communicates through mail not through phone.

    Please educate all your friends and person around so that they shouldn’t be victimized.

    • Vishal

      One more update, I got this call after I updated my information on Naukri.com. Something fishy with Naukri.com

      • Shikha

        Hi Vishal,

        I got a similar call after i updated my no. on naukri.com yesterday. i got the doubt immediately and removed my number from it. There is surely something fishy about naukri.com.

        • vikas

          I think they are joined in naukri.com with some fake company name..

  • Vijay

    LOL. I have got the call from these buggers 3 times now. Here is my experience.

    First time: I got a call from the 1800 number of USCIS. The bastard even ‘verified’ the authenticity by asking me to check the USCIS number online. Ofcourse he gave me all my details, many of which even I was not aware of. The moment he mentioned about money, I understood that it was a scam. I was busy that day and didnt bother talking much and hung up and reported to my university’s International Students Center.

    Second time : This time it was from 911 and 3 seconds into it, I knew its the same bunch of bitches. My best guess is that they were Bangladeshis as I grew up in a locality full of Bangladeshi refugees and I know exactly how these buggers sound like when they are forced into speaking English. I knew that if I am rude/stern, then he will hang up and so I acted dumb and shocked. It worked and as he tried to escalate the fear more and more, I had a hard time controlling my laughter. After about 15 minutes, I got shit tired of his asshollery and I started threatening him by wishing brutal death to his ugly kids. He broke down and started threatening me with a voice so feeble and trembling, that I burst out laughing. The poor fellow hung up.

    Third time : Again from 911, but this time I didnt have time as I was in the middle of a very important WWE trump card match against my best friend. I asked him to go fuck himself and hung up.

    Folks, The USCIS website says that in case you get something like this, hang up right away and send them an email notifying them of the scam. Think practically, if you commit a crime serious enough to be deported, you would’nt be able to get around it by paying a small fine..right..? And moreover you would be sent a bill and given a deadline for each and every payment you make, even for trivial ones like phone bill. Where the fuck is the bill or the deadline in this case, and that too for something way more important than a utility bill. Still I’m saddened to see so many people fall for such chicanery.

    Stay safe folks!! And dont be gullible.

  • Anon

    This happened to me today. I applied to a ’40-60% remote Salesforce Project Manager’ job on Linkedin. Looked like a genuine profile with number of recommendations and a big network. The ‘Recruiter’ called me and got the details of my work authorization status and last four digit of my social security. In next one hour I got a call from a number displayed on USCIS website and I was told that I will be deported as I didnot update the A number. I did get panic in the start but when the money game started my mind started getting cleared. Bottom line be careful while giving your information to random recruiters. I have learnt this lesson and will never share the details unless I am absolutely sure of the person I am interacting with.

  • Siva

    I would like share my experience. I got a call probably week back and claiming that they are from USCIS. Yes, the number matched exactly the same as USCIS customer care number. Then She asked for my name, Email id and which state i do live. She asked whether do i have only email id or do i use any other one. (Ok, I have already read about these scams and i thought something is going wrong). Then she said we have received your documents from Washington office for your verification. I asked her what documents. Then she said your documents that you have under process with USCIS. I replied i don’t have anything processing with USCIS as of now. Everything got cleared few months back. She paused for few seconds and i asked her r u there in line. She replied yes and asked me don’t you have anything pending like Extension / EAD etc.. i replied yes i don’t have anything. Then she replied give me a minute let me check the letter i receive from the DC office and she hung up.

    Guys, please be careful about these scams.