On the heels of a nationwide sweep by U.S. Immigration and Customs that led to the arrest of five Hudson Valley residents, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is cautioning residents to be wary of a scam involving unauthorized agents asking for money.
Following recent reports of fraudsters posing as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents demanding money to avoid deportation, Schneiderman issued an urgent fraud alert on Tuesday, warning immigrant communities of the scam.
According to Schneiderman, the Attorney General’s office has recently received an increased number of reported scams in recent weeks, where agents demand money in exchange for not deporting possible immigrants.
Schneiderman noted that no actual ICE agent would ask for money or threaten detainment or deportation if they are not paid. They also do not have the authority to enter one’s home without a warrant signed by a judge.
The Attorney General also warned of unsolicited calls from fake officials, where someone will claim to be a member of the government or law enforcement, making threats from a number that may appear to be valid. Schneiderman also cautioned of “unscrupulous notarios,” which attempt to exploit immigrants and fraudsters claiming to be attorneys with “misleading legal credentials.”
Last month, anticipating changes to federal immigration enforcement, Schneiderman provided local law enforcement agencies with legal guidance to protect their immigrant communities and improve public safety by becoming “sanctuary” jurisdictions. Additional resources are available on the Attorney General Office's website.
“It is unconscionable for scam artists to prey on heightened fear in our immigrant communities by pretending to be ICE officers and demanding that families pay up in order to avoid deportation,” he said in a statement. “I urge communities to protect themselves by learning about these potential scams – and contacting my office if they suspect fraud. We will continue to use all of the tools at our disposal and bring to justice those who commit fraud against our immigrant communities.”
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