Two more federal departments have said they are the victims of spoofing by scammers trying to use the agency’s name to scare people into giving up personal information that could be used for identity theft.
The IG offices of DHS and HHS have separately announced that scammers have been using their hotline numbers to call members of the public, in some cases targeting immigrants by asserting that they are immigration officials.
The scammers are making it appear on caller ID that the calls are coming from the official hotline numbers, both IG offices said. Both said that they don’t make outbound calls on those lines, which are set up to receive whistleblowing-type disclosures, complaints and other tips.
“The scammers demand to obtain or verify personally identifiable information from their victims through various tactics, including by telling individuals that they are the victims of identity theft. Many of the scammers reportedly have pronounced accents,” said the DHS IG’s office.
It is still safe to call in to those numbers, they added, but any calls supposedly originating from them should be reported to the FTC at 877-382-4357, the DHS at www.oig.dhs.gov or the HHS at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The SSA’s IG recently issued a similar warning about bogus calls and the IRS has been spoofed in numerous scams.