Common immigration scams involve individuals or companies that provide false documents to clients to either help them illegally enter the United States or provide incorrect information to obtain permanent residency.
These scams are extremely dangerous for undocumented immigrants because they may be deported if the authorities find out that they used false credentials.
Additionally, these individuals are at risk of being injured or killed to avoid capture if their illegal status is found out.
What are some of the most common immigration scams in the United States?
Beware of these common scams and protect yourself from fraud when attempting to enter the United States.
Fake lawyers in the US
One of the most common immigration scams occurs in large cities with many immigrants.
Fraudulent lawyers may advertise their services as an option for those hoping to obtain some form of legal residency in the US.
These individuals often will ask their clients for a large sum of money to complete the process for them.
However, they often take this money but do not file any forms or provide clients with false information.
If the person has entered the US while using these false documents, they may be deported because of their illegal status.
Another common immigration scam in the US is marriage fraud.
In this type of scam, an individual will enter into a marriage that they have no intentions of following through with.
They then will attempt to take advantage of their spouse’s legal status or that of their children to obtain legal residency in the US.
Individuals who are victims of marriage fraud may be forced to pay large sums of money or face deportation.
Additionally, they may be victims of domestic violence or be forced to keep their immigration status a secret to avoid this scam.
When businesses search for employees, they may hire an individual who has provided false documentation or who is not legally able to work in the US.
If an employer finds this out, they can report and fire this person, but the worker may be deported if their immigration status has been falsified.
To avoid scams such as these, individuals should be cautious when applying for immigration status.
They should always check the license and credentials of any company or person they plan to use for assistance.
Additionally, they should report any suspicious activity they notice to the authorities to avoid becoming victims of these common immigration scams.
Asylum and refugee scams
Another type of immigration scam is an “asylum scam.”
An asylum seeker should be conscientious when attempting to enter the United States as an asylum seeker because people have been known to try to gain entry using false documentation.
To be considered a refugee or asylee, individuals must prove that their life is at risk if they are returned to their home country because of persecution.
People who commit asylum fraud often obtain a specific benefit, such as financial assistance or a work permit.
Individuals considering applying for asylum or refugee status should be cautious because of the genuine possibility that people may take advantage of them.
Student visa scams
Individuals in the US on F-1 student visas may be more susceptible to another type of common immigration scam.
This type of scam occurs when a college or university provides information to those interested in studying in the US to contact recruiting agencies.
The agency may charge a fee for this service and provide false information about the visa process and courses available.
Individuals on student visas should be meticulous when choosing an educational institution to attend and research the school before enrolling or paying any fees.
Green card scams
Another common immigration scam may target individuals looking to become US citizens.
A company called “US Green Card” has been known to target immigrants with offers of “fast green card arrangements.”
To receive a green card, an individual must be sponsored by their employer or spouse.
This company often provides information on “illegal ways” of obtaining a green card, which may result in the immigrant becoming ineligible to become a citizen.
Individuals interested in applying for US citizenship should double-check with their sponsoring employer or spouse to ensure that they are using legal methods.
Visa lottery scams
Individuals who are not US citizens may be interested in entering the annual visa lottery held by the US government.
Although this is a legitimate program, individuals may encounter scams when participating.
Many of these companies claim that they can help individuals enter the lottery by providing false documentation.
In addition, they often charge a fee for this service.
How can you protect yourself from being scammed by an immigration agent or lawyer?
When in doubt, individuals may contact the US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to seek advice about which schools are legitimate.
To avoid immigration scams, individuals should seek the assistance of an attorney who is experienced in immigration law, particularly those whose focus lies on helping refugees and asylees.
Additionally, they should never provide any information without verifying the agency’s credentials or person they are giving it to, even if they have offered legitimate documentation.
They should also contact officials within the organization to inquire further if there is any information they do not understand.
Finally, they should draft a letter and retain copies of all documentation submitted to any agency.
When it comes time to submit their application, they should send this letter with all the documentation without providing copies of these documents to any agencies or persons.
What should you do if you think you’ve been scammed by someone claiming to be an immigration agent or lawyer?
In addition to these hotlines, they may contact the US embassy or consulate in the region where they reside.
If a person suspects that they have been scammed, they can contact Ruby Powers Law for advice and information. All discussions are confidential between lawyers and prospective clients.
If you have more questions about immigration scams, where can you go for help?
If someone suspects that someone in the US has scammed them, they can contact their nearest immigration lawyer or the INS fraud hotlines. Call these numbers if you have been solicited for money or their services.
Or email the INS at EIFS@ins.usdoj.gov
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