Six Tips on How to Avoid Immigration Scams

April 21, 2017

In 2014, almost half of all immigrants in the U.S. were Hispanic or Latino.  California possesses the majority portion of immigrants in the nation.  Additionally, almost 40% of all Mexican immigrants live in California. 

Whether it’s to renew their Green Card, become a citizen, or find the appropriate documents, those migrating to the U.S. should be aware that some individuals are taking advantage of their circumstance and scamming immigrants in the U.S.

The Better Business Bureau serving San Diego, Orange and Imperial Counties is advising Hispanic consumers on how to avoid immigration scams:

  • Do not provide confidential information over the phone or via email.
    • If USCIS needs payment, they will send you an official document through mail requesting so. 
  • Do not send funds through Western Union or buy prepaid cards.
    • The people that call you will impersonate the Department of National Security or the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, threatening with arrest if they receive no payment.
  • Do not go to a notary or notary service for legal advice. 
    • In the U.S., notaries are not lawyers and cannot provide legal advice or speak with government agencies on behalf of immigrants.

 Other general tips:

  • Never pay for blank government documents.  Nonprofit websites will contain valuable information and resources, however, be sure that any additional websites you input your information in are governmental (.gov). 
  •  Never sign a document before reading it entirely or a document that contains obsolete or incorrect information.
  • Keep receipts from USCIS when you submit your documents, and a copy of all forms you have sent and received from the government.


About the Better Business Bureau of San Diego, Orange and Imperial Counties
The Better Business Bureau of San Diego, Orange and Imperial Counties opened in 1921.  The non-profit is San Diego’s largest countrywide business membership organization with over 7,000 accredited businesses and charities.  The BBB offers free pre-purchase information and advice to consumers.  Its website possesses business reviews on more than 94,000 local companies. Consumers are encouraged to call the BBB’s 24-Hour Consumer Helpline at 858-496-2131 or visit the website at for a list of BBB Accredited Businesses or to file a complaint against a business.