WARNING: New Threatening Phone Scams Aim to Extort Parents, Immigrants

FTC/Robocalls/charity telefunding scam

With scammers coming up with numerous ways to defraud people amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Monday cited ways to help consumers avoid phone scams.

FTC warned those living in Staten Island to pay close attention to two scams that have popped out of the agency’s radar, which seem to be targeting people in the area.

FTC said one of the phone scams that alerted their attention extorts parents. It starts with someone texting you a photo of your own child — that they could’ve grabbed off of the internet, like your social media account. The messages come with a threat that the scammer knows where you live and will kill your family if you don’t pay them.

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The other phone scam, according to FTC, targets immigrants. This scam starts as an imposter call from someone pretending to be from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). FTC said these scammers often say your immigration status is being revoked, and authorities are on their way to arrest or deport you — unless you pay them money right away.

To protect consumers’ identity and money, FTC called on the public to do these things if you received these kinds of messages or calls: