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Scam artist preys on unsuspecting immigrants; makes calls demanding cash

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Oregon police are on the lookout for a scam artist who is targeting immigrants and attempting to extort money from them. The scammer’s caller I.D. shows up as the phone number to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services which can be confusing for immigrants.

Immigrants confused about current laws

With talks of potential immigration legislation being passed in the near future, many immigrants are confused over whether or not they can apply and gain citizenship already. While no comprehensive piece of legislation has been passed at this point in time, several states have taken matters into their own hands and passed bills that benefit immigrants. One immigrant readily paid up $13,000 to the alleged “immigration official” whom he describes as professional sounding and with a legitimate looking caller ID. "As technology continues to improve in leaps and bounds to make our lives easier and more efficient, it also creates opportunities for savvy thieves to take advantage of unsuspecting citizens," says Lake Oswego’s Police Department spokesperson.

Immigrants urged to verify callers

Law enforcement are still trying to track down the scammer, but they are sending out a warning to immigrants. Any phone calls they receive that have someone asking for additional payment options, it is best if they tell the person they will call them back later, which buys time to look into the legitimacy of the organization. Another tip is to never give personal or account information over the phone unless one is sure who they are talking to. Police believe the scammer was able to get away with so much money because they pulled the authority card making the immigrant believe they were official and needed the money now before proceeding with their application. Immigrants who are unsure of someone they are speaking to should either call immigration agencies directly or contact an immigration attorney for help filing their documents.

If you have questions regarding applying for a visa or immigration laws, contact us at 314-961-8200 or visit our contact page.


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