Better Business Bureau serving Eastern North Carolina (BBB) is concerned about fraudsters taking advantage of confusion over the latest news on DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). While BBB cannot provide legal advice on any matters, we urge consumers to avoid potential DACA and other immigration scams by pro-actively seeking competent legal assistance rather than responding to unsolicited appeals.
A federal report that was released in March, shows 49,712 deferred action applications were received in North Carolina bringing the total number of recipients to 27,385 at that time. North Carolina also has the eighth most DACA recipients in the country, just behind Arizona.
“With such a high number of DACA recipients in North Carolina, it is important for those affected by this decision to take the proper precautions when seeking legal advice,” said Mallory Wojciechowski, president and CEO of BBB. “Scammers will be looking to take advantage of the high emotions attached to this situation and capitalize monetarily as much as they can.”
BBB urges consumers to:
Be wary of email, social media messages, phone calls, or other unsolicited sales pitches for legal services, especially if they use scare tactics to frighten you into action.
Don’t provide confidential information over the phone or via email.
Never pay for blank government forms. Government forms are free, although you may have to pay a fee when you submit them.
Be cautious when researching immigration information online. Some scammers set up websites that look like government websites. Look for a .gov domain.
Don’t let anyone keep your original documents (birth certificate, passport, etc.). Scammers may charge you to get them back.
Never sign a document you don’t understand, or sign any form that has not been completely filled out.
Keep a copy of every form you submit, as well as every letter you receive from a government agency.
Don’t wire money to anyone you don’t know. Once you send it, you cannot get it back. Government agencies usually ask for funds by check or money order, or by a secure transaction on a government (.gov) website.
Suggested Resources for DACA Recipients:
TheU.S. Department of Justicemaintains a list of pro bono legal aid providers, organized by geography on a clickable map.
Probono.net, a BBB Accredited Charity, is a pro bono (free) legal organization, and has immigration resources available.
BBB’s Spanish Language website, bbbenespanol.org, also provides a list of local BBB Accredited lawyers that specialize in immigration law.