Phone scams targeting refugees resurge

News: Phone scams targeting refugees make a resurgence
The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) reminds everyone to be wary of unsolicited calls and messages that promise federal grants or other “free” money to refugees. Incidents of these phone scams appear to be on the rise again.  Refugees receiving the calls are told that they are eligible for thousands of dollars in federal grant money—all theirs once they send a few hundred dollars by wire transfer to cover “processing fees”—or better yet, just send their bank account information so the funds can be deposited directly.


Also, in recent weeks, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) learned of a new telephone scam targeting USCIS applicants and petitioners. Scammers are using a technique called “Caller ID spoofing” to display a misleading or inaccurate phone number in a recipient’s Caller ID. The scammer poses as a USCIS official and requests personal information (such as Social Security number, passport number, or A-number), identifies supposed issues in the recipient’s immigration records, and asks for payment to correct these records.  If you receive a call like that, USCIS urges you to say “No, thank you” and hang up immediately.  USCIS never asks for any form of payment or personal information over the phone. DO NOT give payment or personal information over the phone to anyone who claims to be a USCIS official.


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is following these scam attempts, and encourages anyone contacted with similar scams to report them through the FTC website. Their Consumer Alert provides valuable tips on how to avoid being victimized, and what to do in case you are contacted.  They also set up a web page, Avoiding Scams Against Immigrants, with information and materials in several languages.

Individual Development Accounts for Low-Income Refugees

Funding Opportunity:  Individual Development Accounts (IDA) for Low-Income Refugees
U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement
Due June 17, 2013.  Grants fund the development and administration of IDAs for eligible refugees.  IDAs will support goals including home ownership, business capitalization, vehicles for educational or work purposes, professional certification, and education.

Refugee Microenterprise Development

Funding Opportunity:  Refugee Microenterprise Development
U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement
Due June 10, 2013.  Grants to public agencies, community economic development agencies, local mutual assistance associations, and voluntary agencies to assist refugees in becoming economically self-sufficient by owning and managing a small business.

Funding ORR Ethnic Community Self-Help Program

Funding Opportunity: Ethnic Community Self-Help Program
Office of Refugee Resettlement
Funding for refugee ethnic community-based organizations as well as refugee ethnic organizations that are faith-based to provide services to newly arrived refugees. The populations targeted for services and benefits in the application must represent refugee communities that arrived in the U.S. no earlier than 2008. 15 awards between $100,000 and $250,000 will be distributed. Applications due on March 22, 2013. 

Redesigned ORR website

Resource: U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement website
U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR)
Visit the newly redesigned ORR website for resources and information including 2012/13 funding opportunities.  View resources by state to find which programs are supported by ORR and funding levels for each program.  Website also contains contact information for State Refugee Coordinators, State Health Coordinators, and ORR State Analysts.


Project SOAR and ORR Webinars

Training: Webinars for Ethnic Community Self-Help Programs
Presented by: Project SOAR and ORR
Audience: Ethnic community self-help programs
Webinars will focus on organizational and program sustainability, planning for the future, partnerships and collaborations, conflict resolution, and finding your program’s unique strengths.
January 10 and 17, 2013 from 2 – 3:30 pm EST