On 18th April 2017, I received a call from 1-800-767-1833 which is listed as official USCIS contact number(https://www.uscis.gov/about-us/contact-us) saying that I will be deported if I do not pay security deposit of $3100 in the form of iTunes gift card. They said that I failed to update a form called DS-230 and that’s why I will be deported, state police is hunting me to take into custody and IRS will be freezing my funds. Then I also got a call from IRS saying that they have filed a lawsuit against me and froze my funds. The so called immigration officer told me that he can request IRS to unfreeze my funds for some time so that I can withdraw money. Then I withdrew all my savings from bank, bought 40 iTune gift cards from different stores worth $3100 and gave them the numbers. They were on call with me for 7 hours saying that I am under surveillance and that’s why I cannot cut the call. If I call my husband, then he will also come under surveillance and face the same consequence of deportation. I was afraid and panicked for me and my husband so I did whatever the person told me to do. Then they said that I could not complete the security deposit procedure on time so I will be taken into custody by police and the only way to keep myself out of custody is to buy bail-bonds worth $2800 in the form of iTunes gift card. They have my SSN and state id also.
I was ready to pay them the money and went to rite aid for buying more gift cards. The sales lady in rite aid realized that I may be under a scam as I was buying $600 worth of gift cards. In the mean time my husband had filed a report with the police. The police found me in rite aid and then I realized that I was under a scam.
I would request everyone to be vigilant. I would request all the retail stores like Best Buy, Walmart, Target, Staples, Rite aid, Apple store to inform the sales persons and store managers to be vigilant about anybody buying $500 worth iTunes gift card. I have filed a report with Charlotte Mecklenberg police (Case #20170418-1921-06), informed banks, USCIS and credit card companies.
The scammers are taking advantage of the fear among the immigrants and the only way to handle it is to be aware. Govt agencies never call, everything is done through mail. I knew that but the fear took me over and I gave into the scammers. I will try my best to get the word out and I request you to share my story so that nobody else be a victim.