Alert: Telephone Scam Targets Refugees

Alert: Telephone Scam Targets Refugees

From the Office of Refugee Resettlement, HHS, Feb. 23, 2012:

Update: Telephone Scam Targeting Refugees

February 23, 2012 UPDATE – WHERE TO FILE REPORTS OF VICTIMIZATION

Reports of refugee families victimized by the recent telephone scam targeting Bhutanese refugees have come in from Texas, Washington State, Colorado, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Nebraska.

We have been advised that victims of this scam should file an online report at www.ic3.gov; once enough incidents occur as tracked through that site, the FBI will pursue the case.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C).

ORR will continue to update this page as necessary.  Please help to spread the word throughout the refugee community and service providers network.  Thank you.


Dear friends,

In early January, we circulated a message concerning a telephone scam targeting refugees.  At that time, a man was calling Bhutanese refugees, identifying himself as a representative of the “Federal Grants Department” from a Washington, DC-based telephone number, 202-436-9601, informing recently resettled refugees that they were eligible to receive $10,000 because they are refugees from Bhutan.  To claim the money, they were instructed to produce a money order for $650, and call the telephone number for further instructions on where to send the money.

We have received updated reports that the scam is still on-going, but some of the details have since changed.  Most recently, refugees (again, still Bhutanese) have received calls from a man who identifies himself as “Nathan Price with the IRS” calling from a different DC-based telephone number, 202-657-4189, who instructs the refugees to have money wired to various people in India.

The most recent target of this scam lost over $6,000.

ORR advises everyone to be aware of this scam, and avoid giving any personal information or making payments to unknown callers.

Please note that the federal government does not demand processing fees, security deposits, or overseas wire transfers from grant recipients or refugees.  If you are the target of a suspicious request, please contact your local police or resettlement agency for further assistance.

Please share this advisory widely within your own networks.