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Executive Order – Con Artists Taking Advantage

Below is an actual email from one of our clients in regards to her almost falling victim to a scam targeted at immigrants. Scammers all have the same predictable pattern of conversation, but what was new in this instance was that they were using a very sophisticated technology to mask their accent and make it sound American. Names and personal information have been redacted for confidentiality.

Thank you so much for your prompt help. I am writing this email to you with tears in my eyes still and I cannot stop shaking. I wanted to relay to you exactly what happened.

I received call from (888-351-4024), stating that he is Officer Marsh calling from the Police Department. He gave me a file number to reference, and instructed me to move to a quieter location and to not disclose any information with anyone. Upon hearing some background noise, he more forcefully told me to go to a quiet place and said that if I disclosed any information with anyone, myself and that person would be imprisoned for 18 months. No speaker phone, conference calls, recording, or any other electronic devices such as an iPad, phone, or laptop were permitted either.

After going to a more quiet location, the conversation went like this:

“Officer: Do you have all the immigration documents?

Me: Yes.

Officer: Where are you right now….at your work place or at home?

Me: Work place.

Officer: Do you have immigration documents at your home?

Me: Yes.

Officer: How long it will take to reach your home?

Me: 45 minutes.

Officer: How much charge do you have in your phone?

Me: 36%.

Officer: Would it be sufficient to reach home?

Me: I think so, yes.

Officer: Okay, (name redacted), listen. I will transfer your call to USCIS regarding this file number. Stay connected, the call transfer will take a few seconds.

Other Officer: USICS, may I have your file number?

Me: (I gave the Officer the file number given to me by the previous Officer)

Officer: We have received a report from your home country stating you are trying to hide your identity. Why is that? Was it due to human error, or another reason? How long will it take you to get home? Are you on the way?

Me: I am waiting for my Uber Driver.”

He remained on the line from the time I left my workplace and arrived home. While I was in the Uber he asked me to ensure I would not disclose anything with anyone.

“Officer: So, Ms. (name redacted) you have reached your home. Is there anyone around you? If so, I need you to go to a location where there is no one around you.

Me: (I told them there was no one around me, and I placed the call on speaker phone to my employer as I told him to come to the home where I was living so that he can help me. I sent message to him in whatsup while I was speaking)

Officer: (name redacted), we received a report from your home country stating you are trying to hide your identity. Please explain the situation further.

Officer: I can hear some noise and am tracking electronic devices.

Me: My neighbors might be using electronic devices. I am home alone.

Officer: (name redacted), we received a report from your home country stating you are trying to hide your identity. Please explain the situation further.

Me: I don’t know what you are talking about. What information did I hide?

Officer: Ms. (name redacted), it is your state identification code.

Me: Sorry, what is that?

Officer: This call is being recorded and your phone is being tracked. I am not going to repeat this again.”

He sent an email about information as to where to send payment to avoid criminal charges and court costs. In the meantime, my employer got ahold of you,(Rahul Reddy, Attorney at Law from Reddy &  Neumann PC) and you called me. I merged the call and as soon you stated that you are an attorney, he disconnected the call immediately.

Fortunately our client did not fall victim to this fraudulent scheme, though unfortunately many do. While it may seem easy for many to conclude that this kind of call is just a scam and hang up, clearly there are people out there who followed the caller’s instructions and were cheated out of a large amount of money.  Don’t be a victim!