New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman issued a warning on Wednesday following reports of fraudsters posing as Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers attempting to defraud immigrants with threats of deportation.
Schneiderman’s office says it has received an increased number of calls reporting scams of this nature since ICE raids took place around the country several days prior, according to a press release published on the Attorney General’s website. One example in the statement cites an instance in which an immigrant man in Queens was confronted by four men dressed as ICE officials. The “agents” reportedly informed the man that he would be detained unless he gave them all of his money, according to the statement.
“It is unconscionable for scam artists to prey on heightened fear in our immigrant communities by pretending to be ICE officers and demanding that families pay up in order to avoid deportation,” Schneiderman said in the statement. “I urge communities to protect themselves by learning about these potential scams – and contacting my office if they suspect fraud. We will continue to use all of the tools at our disposal and bring to justice those who commit fraud against our immigrant communities.”
Schneiderman’s “fraud alert” listed several ways in which fake ICE officials can scam immigrants, including requests for money to avoid detainment or deportation, which the Attorney General said real ICE agents would never do, or demands to enter an immigrant’s home — which is unauthorized without a warrant signed by a judge.
The alert comes after a series of nationwide raids that resulted in the arrest of hundreds of undocumented immigrants and sparked panic around the country. Several days prior to Schneiderman’s warning, President Donald Trump said he was fulfilling the mission of his immigration agenda, tweeting: “The crackdown on illegal criminals is merely the keeping of my campaign promise. Gang members, drug dealers & others are being removed!”
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on Feb 15, 2017 in Time Magazine