How to Avoid Becoming a Victim of an Immigration Scam
Wherever there are people needing help and willing to pay for it, scam artists can lurk in the shadows, waiting to steal money from unsuspecting, vulnerable people. In fact, scams targeting undocumented people in the U.S. are fairly prevalent, as this group of people:
- Can be especially vulnerable due to a lack of language skills
- Tends to be less likely to report scams to authorities, particularly if they remain undocumented after being victimized by a scam (out of fear of deportation, for example).
To help people avoid these scams – and to ensure they are turning to the right professionals for help securing an immigration status change in the U.S., below, we have answered some of the most frequently asked questions about immigration scams in the U.S.
When you need more answers – and experienced help resolving any immigration matter in the U.S., simply contact a Los Angeles immigration lawyer at the Hanlon Law Group, P.C.
What are some common signs of immigration scams or immigration scam artists?
Red flags of immigration scams can include (and are not at all limited to):
- Immigration ‘consultants’ who have no credentials and/or who are not registered with state authorities
- Promises or guarantees of getting you a visa, citizenship or some other status change
- Requests for upfront payment before any services have been rendered
- Charging you for forms that are provided for free on the USCIS website
- Requests that you turn over your documents to someone or some party (and difficulty getting these documents back)
- Demands that sign blank immigration forms.
Is it a good idea to get immigration help from ‘Notarios Publicos’?
It depends on your needs, but you should be aware that notarios publicos in the U.S. are NOT lawyers. While this may not be true in other countries, in America, only licensed attorneys (and NOT notarios publicos) can provide immigration legal advice.
Aside from a lawyer, is there anyone I can turn to for help in seeking a status change in the U.S.?
Yes, there are registered immigration consultants who can offer limited help for certain immigration matters. These consultants are required to have and post proof that they are bonded for up to $100,000. They can assist people with translating forms and answers for USCIS forms, as well as provide copies of forms and submit them to the USCIS for review/approval.
A list of these consultants is available on the California Secretary of State website
Here, it’s important to point out that these consultants can NOT provide immigration legal advice (as that’s against the law). Only licensed lawyers are allowed to provide legal advice on immigration matters.
What can I do if I think that I’ve been the target of an immigration scam?
If you suspect that you or someone you love has been the victim of any type of immigration scam, you can report the possible scam to the California Department of Justice’s Office of Immigrant Assistance (phone number: 888-587-0557) and/or the State Bar of California’s office (phone number: 800-843-9053).
Contact a Los Angeles Immigration Lawyer at the Hanlon Law Group, P.C.
If you or someone you love needs experienced help securing any immigration status change in the U.S., you can turn to a Los Angeles immigration lawyer at the Hanlon Law Group, P.C.
For nearly two decades, our lawyers have been successfully representing clients in various types of immigration cases, including those that involve the basic to complex immigration matters.
Call us today at (626) 765-4641 or (866) 489-7612, or send our firm an email via the contact form on this page to learn more about your rights and options – and to find out more about how we can serve you.
From our offices based in Pasadena, we represent people throughout the Los Angeles area, as well as the state of California and from around the world.