By Alice Kenny
Scammers beware. We’re on to you. And we’re fighting back.
Catholic Charities just topped off Fraud Awareness Prevention Week. We gained momentum by collaborating with the Manhattan DA, media and fellow social service agencies. And we took aim straight at the perpetrators of immigration fraud, identity theft and housing and labor scams who make their living defrauding New York City’s Latino community.
Scammers often find immigrants, particularly those who lack strong English skills or legal documentation as easy targets. During Fraud Awareness Prevention Week, we ran a well-advertised campaign to keep immigrants from falling into these outlaws’ traps.
Drawing on our expertise running the New York State Immigration Hotline, Catholic Charities Hotline counselors and attorneys manned an anti-fraud telethon phone bank on Wednesday, May 13 and Thursday, May 14, 2015. Phones rang nonstop. In all, 530 calls for help were answered, knocking off questions about immigration, identity theft, employment discrimination and housing fraud. Staff also helped with a town hall event on the following Friday.
“We thank Catholic Charities and their staff for making the phone bank a total success,” said Hildalyn Colon-Hernandez from the Manhattan DA’s office.
In addition to the Manhattan DA’s office, Univision, El Diario, the Office of New Americans and WADO Radio helped promote the event.
And we’re keeping the pressure going. Immigrants with questions are urged to call the Catholic Charities-manned Office of New Americans Hotline at 1 (800) 566-7636. We can provide assistance in 200 languages.
Calls are still coming in. Want to know more?