If You Get a Call From This Number at Homeland Security, It's a Scam

File photo of the Department of Homeland Security logo from 2015 (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
File photo of the Department of Homeland Security logo from 2015 (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Have you gotten a call from the number 1-800-323-8603? Does it say on Caller ID that it’s from the Department of Homeland Security? It’s definitely a scam. Hang up and don’t give them any information.

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That number is the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) hotline. The number exists for employees of DHS to file complaints. But that number never makes outgoing calls.

Someone is spoofing that number to make it look like they’re with the government. The scam artists apparently identify themselves on the phone as being with “US Immigration.” But again, they’re not. They’re just identity thieves trying to extract information.

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“We’ve got about a half dozen calls from concerned individuals who have been the victims of these calls,” Diana Shaw, Acting Director of External Affairs for DHS OIG, told Gizmodo over the phone. The best estimate is that the scam artists started spoofing the number in late March.

“It is something that hasn’t just affected us,” said Shaw. “The Department of Health and Human services number has also had a hotline number that has been spoofed. This has been a widespread issue.”

But Shaw stressed that the phone number, 1-800-323-8603, continues to be a safe place to call to report abuse. In fact, that’s how the agency found out about the scam artists. People called back after giving it a second thought and wanted to know why DHS was requesting personal information from them.

“It continues to be safe to use the DHS OIG hotline to report fraud, waste, or abuse within DHS programs,” said Shaw.

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If you’ve gotten a call from this number and have given any information to the scam artists, you’re encouraged to report it on the DHS OIG website or by calling the hotline number, 1-800-323-8603.

Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog

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DISCUSSION

Fulgurites
Fulgurites

This article just serves to illustrate how completely out dated and broken the caller ID system is. Even the DHS is a victim. And the telecom companies have absolutely no incentive to fix it because they are making so much green money cash off the perpetrators of these phone SCAMS. It’s time to force positive ID on caller ID. The phone company knows who pays the bill. It’s time to pass laws to force telecom companies to update the security technology of caller ID and provide verified and truthful caller ID information.