Watch out for Immigration Scams

Last Updated 11/14/17

Protect yourself against immigration scams. There are people who use internet, mail, phone, and businesses to lie about opportunities. They trick immigrants into giving them money to fix an immigration problem or make an application.

To avoid being scammed:

  • Get information you can trust;
  • Be careful how you share documents or personal information; and
  • Be a smart consumer of legal services.

Find a reliable source to learn about your immigration options. If you are not sure about something online, you can check the government website. That site announces changes in the law, and always has free application forms. There are no easy or secret ways to get immigration status. If there is a new program, it will be on the government website.

Keep your immigration and identity documents private. Do not share them with people you don't know and trust. If you have an immigration case number, a social security number, etc. be careful how you share it. Someone can use those numbers to find out more about you or pretend to be you.

If you get legal help, avoid fake or bad service by finding out more about who will work on your case. Only lawyers and DOJ accredited representatives (DOJ reps) are qualified to give immigration legal advice. Notarios and "immigration consultants" are not. The wrong legal help can damage an immigration case and charge a lot of money for bad service or no service at all. If there are mistakes or lies on your immigration application, then you might have a big problem with your case.  Check and understand forms before you sign. Get a copy of all the forms and papers the lawyer or DOJ rep sends to immigration.

Advocates and immigrants can work together to report and stop immigration scams or fraud. Someone can avoid scams by finding reliable resources; taking good care of private documents and information; and making sure a legal advocate is qualified. Reporting scams to the government might help a person's case and help other people too. For help, or to report a scam, contact the Federal Trade Commission (a government office to protect consumers).