On Your Side: Department of Homeland Security phone scam alert

Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 5:52 PM CDT
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(KY3) - Despite what you’re told, the Department of Homeland Security is not calling you. The phone scams have gotten so bad lately that a real special agent is talking with On Your Side.

Taekuk Cho works for the Department of Homeland Security Investigations.

“We enforce over four hundred federal laws. Everything from narcotics, immigration, cyber to financial crime,” said Cho.

Crooks are using Caller ID spoofing. They can make your phone display whatever they want. Your phone might read you’re getting a call from the Department of Homeland Security. Cho says do not believe it.

“It’s pretty much unheard of that a government agency such as HSI would contact someone directly via phone,” said Cho.

Swindlers will do their homework on you and say your information is compromised. They’re trying to get you to believe it’s ID theft. It’s a scare tactic. Don’t give them any ammo.

“Sometimes, the person on the other end will try to verify the information they already have on you. Your name, address, even names of your family members or where you work,” said Cho.

The scammers pose as law enforcement or immigration officials and threaten arrest unless you pay. Tell your family and friends crooks are busy these days.

“Oftentimes, they’re not just individuals locally. Oftentimes they’re transnational organizations working overseas. They have networks,” said Cho.

Anyone who believes they may have been a victim of this telephone spoofing scam is urged to call the DHS OIG Hotline (1-800-323-8603) or file a complaint online via the DHS OIG website www.oig.dhs.gov. You may also contact the Federal Trade Commission to file a complaint and/or report identity theft.

Ways to Dodge Scam Calls and Texts

1. Ignore unknown numbers. Don’t answer unexpected calls.

2. Join both No Call lists.

3. Try an app.

Consumer Reports says to try Nomorobo, Hiya, Mr. Number, RoboKiller, and YouMail. For a landline, try a call blocker. It is a small device you put next to your phone. Those can cost anywhere from $20-$100, but it might be worth your peace of mind.

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