http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/crime/n-y-attorney-general-warns-of-phony-ice-agent-scam/article/485963

N.Y. Attorney General warns of phony ICE agent scam

Posted Feb 16, 2017 by Arthur Weinreb
With at least the perception of mass deportations taking place, scammers have come out of the woodwork. Undocumented immigrants have been approached by fake Immigration and Customs enforcement (ICE) agents who demand money to prevent their deportations.
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement SWAT
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement SWAT
ICE via Wikimedia
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman issued a statement yesterday warning of this and other scams targeting both legal and illegal immigrants in the United States. The press release was issued the day after ICE agents took more than 20 illegal immigrants into custody in Hamburg, N.Y. After this raid and others across the U.S. in the last few days, the AG’s office has received more than the usual number of reports of immigration scams.
The Attorney General gave one example of a man in Queens. He was approached on the street by four men wearing clothing with the word “ICE” on them. The men told him he would be detained and then deported if he did not give them all his money. The frightened immigrant handed over $250 to avoid being removed from the United States.
Schneiderman
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman speaks during a news conference at the Justice Departmen...
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman speaks during a news conference at the Justice Department on January 27, 2012 in Washington, DC
Mark Wilson, Getty/AFP/File
said, “It is unconscionable for scam artists to prey on heightened fear in our immigrant communities by pretending to be ICE officers and demanding families pay up in order to avoid deportation.” The AG added these communities should learn to protect themselves by learning about these scams and contacting his office if they suspect fraud.
The Attorney General’s office has set up a hotline. Called the Immigration Services Unit Hotline, it allows undocumented immigrants to report fraud without the fear of being apprehended and possibly deported.
Phony ICE agents only one of many scams targeting immigrants
There are many immigration scams apart from those targeting illegal immigrants. In the Latin community, a “notario” is someone in that community who provides legal services even though they are not attorneys. These notarios have been known to charge people exorbitant fees for advice and applications that are never submitted. Other fraudsters claim to be real lawyers who charge excessive fees for services such as appearing in court and then do not do so. People can end up with not being able to get legal residency they could have otherwise obtained because of these scammers.
Fraudsters also guarantee some undocumented workers they will become citizens or legal residents if only they pay the scammer a lot of money. This of course is not true. Often these scammers claim to have friends who work in immigration and they can arrange to have applications expedited; for a large fee of course.
How to avoid these immigration scams
Schneiderman advises immigrants that legitimate ICE agents or other government authorities never demand money either on the street, over the phone or by email. People should never sign any documents that are blank or without reading them first. People who need legal help should seek out legitimate lawyers and never deal with those who solicit them.
Immigrants should also be aware ICE agents cannot enter anyone’s home without first obtaining and being in possession of that warrant.
Anyone approached by these fraudsters should contact the Attorney General’s office. They can call the Immigration Services Unit Hotline at (866) 390-2992 or email Civil.Rights@ag.ny.gov.
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