Wave of fraud calls target local foreign nationals

Reported by: Alyx Sacks
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Updated: 7/15 10:05 am

RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- Another set  of scams have hit the area, costing some Northern Nevadans thousands of dollars.  This new wave of fraudsters is posing as federal agents from a variety of  agencies.

According to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) resident agent in charge Kyle Burns fraudsters are calling residents and reporting to be agencies like Citizenship and Immigration Services, Homeland Security, or the Internal Revenue Service and they're targeting many foreign nationals and threatening them with either arrest or deportation if they don't pay them a set amount of money.

"It's of great concern because a lot of times these foreign nationals, a lot of the time, the fraudster, the perpetrator will know personal information about them, they will know their wives names, they might know where they work," Agent Burns says.

Agent Burns tells News 4 these types of crimes require the community to be proactive instead of reactive. The key is to prepare yourself with the right tools and know how to identify potential fraud scams.

"It's going to come down to the individual person, because a lot of times we can't identify the perpetrator. They're using technology to do what's called spoofing their phone number. They can make it look like it's coming from anywhere," agent Burns says. "It looks like it's coming from the Department of Homeland Security or Citizenship Immigration Services, the U.S. Attorney's Office in some jurisdictions has been spoofed. It's a computer program and they can make it look like that."

Which agent Burns admits is very frustrating for law enforcement.

"It's worrisome because it erodes the faith in the government if folks think that they're being victimized," agent Burns says.

There are ways you can arm yourself. Agent Burns says it's all about knowing the warning signs of fraud scams.

Below is some information about how people can report fraud scams:

File a complaint online with the Federal Trade Commission: www.ftc.gov/complaint <http://www.ftc.gov/complaint> or www.ftc.gov/queja http://www.ftc.gov/queja

To report immigration fraud (i.e. alien smuggling, unlawful employment, or crimes committed by a foreign national), contact Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the ICE Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2ICE (1-866-347-2423) or use the agency's online tip form here.

Send an e-mail with as many details as possible to:
reportfraud@dhs.gov the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) and make a complaint in English or Spanish.  The FTC accepts anonymous and third party complaints. 
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