If You Get This Phone Call, Hang Up!Word of advice: Screen your phone calls. And even when a call seems legitimate, be wary.
There are unscrupulous people who are trying to steal your identity by pretending to be from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Office of Inspector General, reports WTOP News in Washington, D.C.
The ruse: These criminals scam caller ID systems to make it appear they are calling from an official federal government telephone number. Using what has been described as "pronounced accents," they claim to be from "U.S. Immigration" and tell victims they have been affected by identify theft. In a bogus attempt to "help," the scammers ask the victims to either provide or confirm personal information that they then use to really steal their identity.
The phone number that appears on victims' caller ID is 1-800-323-8603, which is a legitimate hotline number for the Inspector General of Homeland Security; however, this hotline is never used for outgoing calls--only incoming calls about reports of fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement with the agency.
DHS was alerted to the scam by the victims who called the hotline, asking why they had been contacted and asked such personal questions.
If you have been a victim of such a scam, you are urged to call the DHS hotline (1-800-323-8603) or the Federal Trade Commission (1-877-FTC-HELP) to report it.