What are the Most Common Types of Immigration Fraud and Scams?

July 21, 2020

Immigrants may face challenges when attempting to secure visas, green cards, or work permits in the U.S. due to language barriers and other difficulties. However, when seeking assistance on immigration matters, they should be on the lookout for various immigration scams; the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) cautions that the wrong help can hurt. The following are common types of immigration fraud and scams to avoid:

Non-Government Websites and Scam Emails

Websites that may seem to be affiliated with the USCIS may actually belong to scammers trying to take advantage of immigrants by asking them to pay for free government forms or to make payments by phone or email. Scammers may also offer immigrants guidance in completing a USCIS application or petition, or they may target employers by asking for Form I-9 information, which employers are not required to submit to the USCIS. Immigrants and employers are advised not to respond to or click on any links or attachments from a fraudulent USCIS email address.

Notarios Publicos versus Lawyers

In Latin American countries, a notario publico is authorized to practice law and perform other legal duties. However, in the U.S., a notary public is someone who is authorized to authenticate signatures on legal documents; they are not necessarily licensed to practice law. Fraudsters often seek to take advantage of this discrepancy by offering Latin American immigrants legal advice or assistance that is beyond the scope of what they are authorized to provide.

Visa Lottery

The U.S. Department of State offers a limited number of diversity visas, which are granted via random selection. The Diversity Immigrant Visa program is not managed by the USCIS and there is no cost to register for it. Applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements to be part of the pool and can only qualify for the program by applying with the U.S. Department of State. Any promises to improve an applicant’s chances of being selected or guarantee selection are not to be trusted.

Job Offers

The USCIS cautions immigrants to beware of companies offering a job from overseas by email, especially if they ask you to pay money in order to get the job. Those who do not have a permanent resident card, work permit, or employment visa may not work in the U.S., therefore even if a job offer is legitimate, they may not be legally allowed to accept it.

False Guarantees

Sham companies and individuals may offer immigrants false guarantees in exchange for a fee. Such guarantees that pertain to obtaining a visa, green card, or work permit faster are bogus; the USCIS offers no exceptions and the normal processing time applies to all immigrants, regardless of who files the application on their behalf.

Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at the MC Law Group, LLC Protect Clients from Immigration Scams

If you are seeking assistance with an immigration issue, contact a Philadelphia immigration lawyer at the MC Law Group, LLC. Our qualified, experienced, and multi-lingual attorneys can help ensure that you do not become a victim of immigration fraud or scams. From our office in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout the tri-state area, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and nationwide. Contact us online or call us at 215-496-0690 for a free consultation.