SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) is joining the Social Security Administration (SSA) OIG and other Federal agencies on March 5 for National “Slam the Scam” Day aimed at raising public awareness of phone scams that impersonate government officials across the United States.
The Federal Trade Commission recently reported victims lost about $153 million to government imposter scams last year.
Both the DHS OIG and SSA OIG would like to warn all Americans to hang up
on all government imposters. The OIGs ask that residents spread the word to family and friends that these calls are indeed scams.
During the scams, callers pretend to be government employees and ask victims to reveal personal information or make payments.
During one of these scams, the caller ID on a resident's phone will display “U.S. Immigration” or some other government entity as well as a phone number matching the one belonging to the government entity. The caller then tries to obtain or verify personal information about the victim over the phone by claiming they were a victim of identity theft among other tactics.
The scammers have also posed as law enforcement or immigration officials and threatened victims with arrest unless they made payments to the scammers.
Some victims have also received these scams through email from an address ending in “uscis.org.”
The DHS said it is to be noted that many of these scammers have a strong accent.
The Department of Homeland Security would like to remind the public that it never uses its HQ Operator number (202-282-8000) or Civil Rights and Civil Liberties number (202-401-1474) to make outgoing calls of this nature.
Individuals receiving phone calls from these numbers should not share any personal information and just hang up!
The DHS OIG said anyone who believes they may have been a victim of a telephone spoofing scam can call the DHS OIG Hotline at 1-800-323-8603 or file a complaint online at the DHS OIG website. Victims may also contact the Federal Trade Commission to file a complaint and/or report identity theft.
For more information regarding SSA OIG’s National “Slam the Scam” day activity, you can visit the SSA OIG website.
You can also visit the DHS website at www.oig.dhs.gov.