- Did you recently receive a phone call claiming to be from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)? Homeland Security phone scams are making the rounds, leaving some people in a panic.
- In the Homeland Security scam phone calls, criminals are impersonating both Homeland Security Investigations Office agents and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents. One scam threatens people with warrants and investigations if they do not give up either money or personal information. Another scam claims cash and drugs were intercepted with your name on it and asks for banking information.
- If you receive a threatening phone call from a Homeland Security Investigations agent or an unsolicited call from a CBP agent, you should hang up because it is probably a Homeland Security phone scam. DHS will never call anyone with demands or requests for sensitive information. Instead, report the call to DHS and the Federal Trade Commission.
- If you want to learn more, believe you are the victim of a phone scam, or if you have been receiving Homeland Security scam phone calls, contact the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) at no cost by phone (888.400.5530) or live-chat. Just go to www.idtheftcenter.org to get started.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is usually the agency issuing a fraud alert informing the public about the latest scams, like DHS giving a new warning about immigration scams from the Department’s Ombudsman office. However, now criminals are trying to get your money and personal information by impersonating Homeland Security agents, particularly in the Philadelphia and Miami areas. DHS officials say the calls are part of a Homeland Security phone scam and are intended to frighten people. DHS agents will never call you unsolicited.
Who are the Targets?
Phone users; Non-U.S. citizens
What is the Scam?
Identity criminals impersonate agents from the DHS Investigations Office and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). In one Homeland Security phone scam, criminals threaten you with arrest or an investigation if you do not provide payment in the form of “immigration bonds” or sensitive information. Other Homeland Security scam phone calls have a pre-recorded message that says, “a box of drugs and money being shipped has your (caller’s) name on it, and it has been intercepted.” They then instruct the caller to press #1 to speak with a CBP agent, attempting to get the caller’s banking information.
What They Want
Scammers hope to steal either money or personal information. The personal information and bank account information can be used to commit an array of different identity crimes in your name.
How to Avoid Being Scammed
- The DHS Investigations Office will never call you with demands like those included in the current scams. If you receive a threatening call, hang up because it is a Homeland Security phone scam. Do not give them any money or personal information.
- Also, DHS Investigations and CBP do not solicit money over the phone. If you get a call like that, note the number, any other pertinent details about the call and then hang up.
- If you receive Homeland Security scam phone calls, report them to the DHS Investigations Field Office or the CBP, even if you did not fall for the scam. Phone scams can also be reported to the Federal Trade Commission online at reportfraud.ftc.gov/.
To learn more about Homeland Security scam phone calls, or if you believe you were the victim of a phone scam, contact the ITRC toll-free by calling 888.400.5530. You can also visit the company website to live-chat with an expert advisor. Go to www.idtheftcenter.org to get started.