January 12, 2012 (San Diego) – The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) has been alerted to a new telephone scam that thus far is targeting Bhutanese refugees. A man identifying himself as a representative of the “Federal Grants Department” calls from a Washington, DC-based telephone number, (202) 436-9601, informing recently resettled refugees that they are eligible to receive $10,000 because they are refugees from Bhutan. To claim the money, they are instructed to produce a money order for $650, and call the telephone number for further instructions on where to send the money. Be advised that this is NOT a legitimate solicitation.
According to the San Diego Refugee Forum, at least one refugee has been coerced into making multiple payments as “processing fees”, totaling more than $5,000. So far, reports are localized in Texas, but ORR advises everyone to be aware of this scam and avoid giving any personal information or payments to unknown callers.
Please note that the federal government does not demand processing fees or security deposits from grant recipients. If you are the target of a suspicious request, please contact your local police or resettlement agency for further assistance.