Immigration News - Scams Targeting Immigrants

Immigration News - Scams Targeting Immigrants

The immigrant population is at risk for scams by those who take advantage of this group due to their lack of knowledge about the immigration process or the language barrier. We believe, at Landerholm Immigration A.P.C. that it’s essential to keep our clients, and potential clients, aware of these scams so they do not fall victim to fraudulent situations.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) often reviews fraud cases against immigrants to learn more about how victims are lured to these fraudulent services. Let’s take a look at some of the scams to be aware of.

Unauthorized Immigration Services

The FTC says that unauthorized services for immigrants are the number one reported fraud cases they investigate. In this situation, a person or company will claim they can provide immigration services for those looking for citizenship in the U.S.

Many of these persons or companies call themselves “notorios.” While a notorio in Central America and Mexico carry a prestigious title, in America, these people are called notaries, who are not legal immigration professionals and cannot help you with immigration-related services.

The FTC offers an explanation as to how this unfolds. A company or individual will lure immigrants to their business through marketing efforts by offering immigration services, like legal representation. Once the migrant agrees to work with them, often through fear tactics or pressure, the person or business asks them to pay for fraud-based services. Examples of this are paperwork or applications that are otherwise free to migrants. They may even ask the victim to pay upfront legal fees or deposits.

Fraudulent Government Websites

Online scams are becoming more problematic as more of the world has access to online resources. Migrants are being targeted by websites that appear incredibly legitimate asking for MoneyGram or PayPal fees from fake or misleading companies. USCIS does not accept or request these forms of payment. As a precaution, you should always pay close attention to the URL being used by a company claiming to be a government agency. All regulated and legal government sites will end with the “.gov” attribution.

Phone and Email Scams for Immigrants in the System

Immigrants who have already begun their immigration journey could be at risk by those who have your personal information. These entities may try to connect with you via email or phone and start making requests that can place your immigration case in jeopardy.

Some of these entities may even start asking for fees and payments associated with your case and extort money from you. It is important to work with an immigration lawyer to ensure you do not fall victim to this sort of scam and are clear about the correspondence with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

These are just of the scams we see regularly but certainly not an exhaustive list. You run the risk of being the target of a scam, and placing your citizenship or Green Card in jeopardy, if you don’t work with an experienced immigration lawyer. Feel free to reach out to our professional team to help through the immigration process the right way.

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