We often forget just what it means to have driver’s license and social security card. Unfortunately, the scammers of the world haven’t forgotten.
A rapidly growing area of fraud in the U.S. involves taking advantage of those needing help with immigration processes. The U.S. Departments of Justice, Homeland Security and the Federal Trade Commission recently announced their initiative to fight immigration services scams.
The common thread in this type of fraud involves the unauthorized practice of immigration law. Whenever the BBB is represented on Spanish-language media stations, for example, numerous calls are received from listeners and viewers who repeat stories of being victimized by people claiming that they were authorized to provide immigration and naturalization services; that they were affiliated with the U.S. government; and that the fees paid by consumers would cover all the costs associated with submitting immigration documents to the proper U.S. agencies.
Callers, however, are reluctant to file complaints against the scammers for fear of being noticed by actual immigration authorities.
“Communities of non-English speaking people are always at a higher risk for being targets of scams,” said Blair Looney, president and CEO of the BBB serving Central California. “Victims of immigration services scams face a huge loss of time and money and many increase their risk of being detained or deported by U.S. officials.”
The BBB advises consumers to follow these tips provided by the FTC to avoid becoming a victim of immigration services scams:
Visit www.ftc.gov for more information.