February 10, 2017: Immigration Scams Follow Fears About Changing Rules
As changes in immigration policy take center stage, people seeking assistance should beware of fake attorneys and “notarios.”
Immigration scammers advertise in store windows, social media, radio and other outlets and use recent news headlines about executive orders and proposed changes in immigration law to create fear and then step in to offer a bogus solution.
They sometimes charge for government forms which are free, claim to have a special relationship with immigration officials or charge a lot of money to knowingly apply for benefits for which the victim is ineligible.
People seeking help with their immigration status can end up losing sizeable sums of money, or even worse, hurting their chances of obtaining legal status.
- If an attorney claims to be licensed in California, confirm his or her status by calling the State Bar of California’s immigration hotline at 866-879-4532
- In California, it is illegal for a person to self-identify as a “notario,” if they are not a licensed attorney
- Visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ website at https://www.uscis.gov/avoid-scams/find-legal-services to find free or low-cost legal assistance
Report fraud to the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs at (800) 593-8222 or http://dcba.lacounty.gov/wps/portal/dca/main/home/immigrationfraud/.
For more information and tips on how to avoid common immigration scams, check out this video featuring Deputy District Attorney Leonard Torrealba from the District Attorney’s Consumer Protection Division http://vimeo.com/178401552.
Follow @LADAOffice on Twitter for up-to-date news and use #FraudFriday.