Immigration scams can lead to identity theft, long-lasting financial impacts, and significant immigration complications. Unfortunately, several factors may leave immigrants vulnerable to scams. Immigrants are often unsure of their eligibility for a green card or certain visas, while other individuals may be completely unfamiliar with the U.S. immigration process. In many cases, English is not the immigrant’s first language. These circumstances all have the potential to put immigrants at risk of scams.
Immigrants may encounter scams at all stages of the immigration process. Here, we explore several common scams as well as the advantages of working with an immigration attorney.
In the United States, a notary public is an individual who is licensed to act as a witness to signatures of important legal documents. However, in much of Latin America and Europe, a “notario” usually refers to someone who is licensed to practice law and has received advanced legal education. Scammers take advantage of the alternate definitions to pose as attorneys when in reality they are unqualified and lack legal training.
The USCIS designates only two types of authorized immigration service providers who are qualified to offer legal advice regarding your immigration case:
Another common immigration scam is people pretending to represent a U.S. government agency, usually USCIS or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). When impersonating an ICE or USCIS official, scammers may frequently call or email the victim with claims that there are issues with their immigration status. The scammer then offers to “solve” the problem for a fee. Often, the scammer threatens to deny a visa application or initiate an order for deportation if the fee isn’t paid.
If you are unsure of whether the individual claiming to be a USCIS worker is legitimate, contact USCIS at 800-375-5283 to speak with customer service.
While imposter scams are primarily concerned with receiving an immediate payment, some scams intend to collect personal information, such as your name, social security number, or address, to steal your identity.
A few examples of scams that have been reported include:
Scammers use deceptive tactics to conceal their true intentions, often making it difficult to spot a scam. However, there are several indications of a scam that immigrants should be aware of:
Immigration is complicated, and immigrants should be aware of scams as they navigate the process. Working with a qualified immigration attorney can help you avoid scammers, as well as common mistakes that can result in a delay or denial of your immigration petition. Contact an immigration lawyer at Sverdloff Law Group today to discuss your case.