If you get a very convincing email from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) about information on your employees’ I-9s, do not follow the instructions! The I-9 information request is the latest in a series of sophisticated scams targeting employers. Moreover, the scam appears to be working.
Employers are not required to submit I-9s to the USCIS, so such a request should raise some red flags. Nevertheless, the request is throwing employers off because the emails look very authentic. In fact, the emails actually come from a uscis.gov email address and they even contain logos from both USCIS and the Office of Inspector General.
As if that’s not enough to fool some time-strapped HR professionals, many of the emails also contain other details designed to make the messages appear legitimate — like your company’s mailing address.
However, the USCIS, has made it abundantly clear it’s not sending any emails to employers about their I-9s. It’s also warning companies not to click on any links in the email or respond to the sender. Another reason employers may be eager to cooperate is that the Federal Government recently announced they are ramping up I-9 audits; but again, the USCIS will never email you about an I-9 audit.
What to do if you are targeted:
To prevent your company from falling victim to this I-9 scam, there are several preemptive steps you should take ASAP.
First, make sure your employees are aware of the I-9 scam email and what the phony email will look like. If workers do receive an I-9 information request, they should forward those messages to the Federal Trade Commission via the ftccomplaintassistant.gov website.
Lastly, if you receive an email from the USCIS and are not sure if it’s legit, you can always double-check by forwarding it to email@example.com.