IMMIGRATION

Con artists prey on immigrants fearing a Trump crackdown

This March 3, 2017 photo provided by Greenville, S.C., police shows Michael Ruiz in Greenville after his arrest on human trafficking charges, including posing as an ICE agent and swindling immigrants out of more than $70,000. Ruiz is among the con artists across the country are taking advantage of a climate of fear among immigrants by posing as federal agents and ordering them pay up or else be detained and deported, authorities and outreach groups say.   (Greenville, SC Police Dept. via AP)

This March 3, 2017 photo provided by Greenville, S.C., police shows Michael Ruiz in Greenville after his arrest on human trafficking charges, including posing as an ICE agent and swindling immigrants out of more than $70,000. Ruiz is among the con artists across the country are taking advantage of a climate of fear among immigrants by posing as federal agents and ordering them pay up or else be detained and deported, authorities and outreach groups say. (Greenville, SC Police Dept. via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Authorities say con artists are exploiting immigrants' fears of deportation by posing as federal agents and demanding they pay up or else.

An immigrant in New York City, for example, got a call from someone who told him he was in the U.S. illegally and would have to hand over $1,550 to stay.

People in the U.S. without permission are seen as easy targets for such scams because they are reluctant to go to the police.

As a result, authorities have found it difficult to investigate such schemes or determine how common they are.

The New York attorney general's office says immigrants should know this: A real agent from ICE, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, will never ask for money.