March 5, 2019 The United States Department of Homeland Security has issued a fraud alert about a spoofing scam targeting people across America.
In a statement issued by the Department of Homeland Security
Office of Inspector General on Tuesday, the agency warns about a telephone spoofing campaign designed to steal personal information from unsuspecting victims. Spoofing is defined as:
<blockquote> [The]“deliberate falsifying of information transmitted to a caller ID display to disguise an identity” </blockquote>
Criminals use spoofing technology to alter caller ID Systems to make callers believe they are representatives from U.S. Immigration or other law enforcement entities. The calls appear to be coming from the DHS HQ Operator number (202-282-8000) or the DHS Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) number (202-401-1474).
The scammers inform victims their identity was stolen and then ask them to provide personal information in order to steal their identity. Some scammers, posing as law enforcement or immigration officials threaten victims with arrest unless they make payments.
In some instances, scammers email victims from email addresses ending in “uscis.org.”
On Tuesday, a Wisconsin news station reported that a man filed a police report with the Madison Police department after he received a call from an “Officer Kevin Grant” via their non-emergency number: 608-255-2345. The man is out $900 after he was told he was a suspect in some sort of criminal enterprise against a child. The scammer told the man that the fake victim’s mother would not press charges if he paid $900.
Over the last decade, phone scamming incidents have dramatically increased. A 2018 First Orion report concluded in the next year, nearly half of all calls to mobile phones will be fraudulent. The Federal Trade Commission(FTC) reports that the median loss from a phone-based scam in 2017 was $720.
If you believe you have been the target of a spoofing scam, you are urged to call the DHS OIG Hotline (1-800-323-8603) or file a complaint online via the DHS OIG website. You may also contact the Federal Trade Commission to file a complaint and/or report identity theft.