The immigration process can be somewhat complicated, especially if you are new to the country. There are many various visa options and types of petitions to submit to the USCIS. Depending on your specific circumstances, it can take a long time to obtain a visa or green card. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous people take advantage of immigrants. You want to avoid immigration scams that could be expensive and delay your immigration procedure. Trust only reputable immigration attorneys to assist you with the immigration process.
There are several common types of immigration scams that have been popular. These scams take advantage of the trusting nature of immigrants coupled with language barriers.
One way that an immigrant could get scammed is by hiring someone who is not authorized to assist immigrants. The immigrant pays someone to facilitate their paperwork only to find out that they lost their money to a scammer and no paperwork was completed. Some unscrupulous scammers claim to be notarios. Notarios, or notary publics, are not lawyers. However, they sometimes advertise immigration services. Be aware that only authorized immigration services are legal.
There are two types of authorized immigration services – licensed lawyers and accredited non-lawyers. A licensed lawyer must have a license to practice law and must be in good standing. Some non-profit organizations are accredited to provide legal services to immigrants. The Department of Justice has a list of attorneys who are not allowed to practice law. They also provide a list of representatives with accreditation to provide services to immigrants.
Sometimes, a person will pose as a government official. The imposter contacts the immigrant by email, mail, or phone and states that there is a problem with their immigration status. They go on to request payment to resolve the problem. The imposter may say that the immigrant or family members are in trouble and could go to jail or be deported if they do not comply. If you are contacted by someone who states they are a government official, be wary. Do not provide your personal information or any payments. Instead, contact the USCIS to verify the situation.
Today, everyone has an email address and a cell phone. Scammers use these methods to contact immigrants to purport a scam. Phone scams can look very real because the individual may use spoofing to make their name appear as the USCIS when they call. The same holds true for emails. Fake websites are online that appear to provide real services for immigrants. However, some of these websites are not legitimate and instead only take your money while not providing you with any services.
A legitimate immigration attorney will provide you with their credentials. You should check into the validity of anyone claiming to be a lawyer or government official before you give them any money. The government will always contact you through the address you provide, so make sure to keep it updated at all times. Do not give anyone your personal information until you check first. Keep in mind that the USCIS will never ask for payments over the phone, nor will they demand payment or threaten deportation.
If you suspect that you or someone else is the victim of an immigration scam, you should make a report. By reporting the incident, you will be helping law enforcement find and stop those who are profiting by scamming immigrants. In Illinois, you should file a report with the Office of the Attorney General, Consumer Protection Division, or Immigrant Assistance Program. If you receive a suspected scam email or other communication, report it to the USCIS. You may also make a report to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Immigration scams, like other scams, are on the rise. A legitimate immigration attorney will assist you through the immigration process. Contact our skilled legal team at Sverdloff Law Group at (312) 238-9090 for trustworthy immigration guidance.