I always thought to explore new places is always fun and exciting but it’s not. As we know “Everything is not picture perfect” all the time. When we see the pictures we always get attracted to it but many times we don’t know what’s going behind the scene. I have shared a lot of good experiences on this blog and now as I am completing one year of this blog I decided to share one of my bitter experience. Today I am sharing one of my personal experience which left me scared in the new country. This is My experience of immigration scam in the USA.
In February 2013 I came know that soon I will be shifting to the United States for few years. Definitely being a travel lover I was so excited because It gives me chance to see the new country, learn their culture and try some new cuisines which might I haven’t tried yet. In my mind, Europe and USA are always picture perfect country. I mean it is a land of opportunities, free of all the crimes and lovely people around you. I can not explain my excitement in the words. So finally I moved to the USA in May 2013 and I don’t lie to you, my initial experience was so great I literally fall in love with this country.
My experience of immigration scam in the USA
It was early morning, I was in the kitchen preparing for the lunch around 7 am my phone rang. When I look at my phone screen to check who is calling so early the display was showing USCIS. Those who don’t know let me tell you USCIS stand for “U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services”. This department handles all your visa, immigration, and citizenship related matters. I answered the call:
officer: “Hi, Can I talk to Ms. Shah”
Me: “Yes, Speaking”
Officer: “I am sorry to inform you but your Visa documents and I-94 details are incomplete and we are not able to verify. We had sent the notice at your home back in India but nobody responded. If you don’t fulfill the requirement then we have to deport you.”
The moment he said “deport you”, I was scared. Nobody wants to get in trouble because you came to the country legally right? I started thinking like why my parents didn’t tell me if they received notice? I was speechless and confused what should I answered? after few seconds I replied to the officer.
Me: “I am sorry sir. Let me check with my parents about the notice and I will send the required documents as mentioned in the notice.”
Officer: “Mam, your are not understanding the seriousness of the matter. You can get deported if you will not fulfill the requirements.”
In the background
I was confused again. I was saying I will submit the documents again there is no other way I can think of at that point. Suddenly, my husband came to the kitchen to get breakfast and he asked me “who is on the phone” with sign language. I told him officer from USCIS. He was not believing me Hence I saw him the screen name. My husband asked me to mute the microphone. I told him whatever officer told me about the deportation. He was already warned at the work place for this type of scam so he asked me to hang up and I did.
2nd-time call from USCIS
The strange thing is I got the same USCIS call again in afternoon. I answered it and the same story was continued by the officer. This time I have already talked with my parents so I told him that I haven’t received any notice yet. I was just shocked when I realized He knew my alien ID, Phone Number as well as the current address in US. I started believing him. While I was talking on the phone the officer has continued to pressurize me that I will get deported If I don’t pay the fine. He asked me to pay $14oo through MoneyGram and when I said I don’t have that much money. He reduced the fine and that moment I realize there is something fishy.
I kept the phone on speaker and started messaging my husband and my other two friends about the situation. Both my friend said the same thing that this is the scam and you can check the details of scam on the website of USCIS. Suddenly call get disconnected while the officer was transferring the call to his senior.
How I made it out from the scam?
As soon as call got disconnected, I called my friend who was in the US from last 5 years. I explained to him the whole thing happened since morning in sort and he advised me when next time he calls you then pick up the phone and tell him that you talked to your lawyer and he will take care of the matter and hang up. His instructions sound legit so I did follow his instructions and I never got a follow-up call from the scammers.
This brief story was also published in the Seattle globalist Newspaper. You can read the detailed story here. The scammers are smart once they realize their plans are not working they come up with the new strategy to scam the people. The USCIS department keeps updating their websites with the latest scams going around. You can check about those scams on USCIS website on the page of common scams.
“Have a safe Travel”