Updated Tuesday, July 3, 2018
The Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA), part of the County of Los Angeles Department of Consumer and Business Affairs, has received unconfirmed reports that scammers are asking family members to pay them money in order to release children who were separated from their families at the border at the United States/ Mexico border.
In some cases involving separated children, real authorities will seek to connect separated children with their family members living in the United States. However, OIA is aware that scammers are reaching out to those families, claiming to be from the government or a person of authority, and demanding money in return for “releasing” the children to them.
This is a government look-alike scam of the worst kind, preying upon some of the most vulnerable and desperate people in our communities.
Please note that no one from the government will demand money from you in order to release a detained child into your care. Do not fall for this scam.
If you receive a threatening or unusual phone call of this sort – or if you have been a victim of a scam – please report it to the OIA at (800) 593-8222 or oia.lacounty.gov. OIA provides free services and support to Los Angeles County immigrants and their families.
Also, beware of fake charities who claim they are collecting money to help separated children and their families. Always research a charity before you choose to donate money or goods. Better yet, stick with the charitable organizations you already know and trust. If you suspect a charity is acting in bad faith, call us at (800) 593-8222.
For more information about news affecting immigrants in Los Angeles County, visit oia.lacounty.gov and follow @LAC4Immigrants on Twitter and Facebook.