Barack Obama’s announcement regarding immigration reform has caused plenty of controversy, not only with the opposition, but also with supporters of the bill. What’s more, a growing number of immigration lawyers are concerned that more and more immigrants will fall victim to immigration scams.
Unfortunately, the most common immigration scams happen over the phone. Telephone scammers will typically call unsuspecting immigrant families and act like they work for USCIS. Posing as a government official, they will ask for personal information that ranges from credit card information to social security numbers. Scammers will also pretend that there are problems with immigration records and will ask for a fee to correct the problems.
One of the most notorious immigration scams can be found under the name “Notario Publico”. Scammers will take advantage of the term Notario Publico, which has a different meaning in Latin American countries. The Notario Publico in most Latin American countries is a public notary, but means something completely different in the United States. Public notaries in the United States can only witness the signing of documents and therefore have no power or authorization to provide legal services regarding to immigration.
Some immigration scams can be detected more easily, however. A good example is when someone promises to get you a green card, visa or employment document in a quicker manner than usual. Scammers will try to charge an insane amount of money to “fast track” your green card, visa or employment documents. This is not possible, since only the USCIS has the authority to provide these documents. Immigrant families that fall victim to this scam often end up with falsified documents or on an endless waiting list.
Immigration scams are all over the internet as well. The most common of these scams is the false step-by-step application guide.. Websites will claim to be affiliated with the USCIS, but nothing is further from the truth. These websites will charge filing fees and provide fake processing times, but won’t actually do anything about the application.
Immigrants should also be wary of the so-called INS scam. Most immigration scams will use the name INS to convince you that they are legit; however, the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) no longer exists! Remember, only the USCIS has the authority to provide immigration documents.
Have you fallen victim to immigration scams? If so, don’t hesitate to contact the immigration attorneys at Lyttle Law Firm, based in in Austin, Texas. We’ll be happy to learn more about your situation and provide the guidance necessary.