Fraudsters are preying on immigrants by posing as federal agents and threatening to deport them if they don’t pay up, according to New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
Mr. Schneiderman said in a press release issued Wednesday that his office has received “a number of reports” about fake agents claiming to be with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and demanding money from immigrants. Other scammers are posing as immigration lawyers, he added.
“It is unconscionable for scam artists to prey on heightened fear in our immigrant communities,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “I urge communities to protect themselves by learning about these potential scams and contacting my office if they suspect fraud.”
In one instance, an immigrant living in Queens was approached by four men dressed as ICE agents who told him he was going to be detained unless he gave them all of his money, Mr. Schneiderman said.
ICE agents will never ask for money or demand payment and don’t have the authority to enter someone’s house without a warrant signed by a judge, he said.
The Attorney General’s office recommends the following tips to avoid being scammed: only work with a licensed lawyer or an authorized provider; never sign blank applications or documents you don’t understand; and don’t make payments over the phone or via email.
“We will continue to use all of the tools at our disposal and bring to justice those who commit fraud against our immigrant communities,” Mr. Schneiderman said.
The New York State Attorney General’s office can be reached online at ag.ny.gov or by phone at 1-800-771-7755.
File courtesy photo: New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. (Credit: New York State Attorney General’s office)