Avoid Immigration Scams When Applying for a Green Card

Immigration scams are prevalent among immigrants applying for a green card, so we're sharing how you can avoid immigration scams.
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Staff Writer, @DooleyNotedLaw

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Immigrants are a target for scammers. This can lead to identity theft, monetary theft, and more. When applying for a green card or another visa, it is essential to be aware of the many immigration scams. Unfortunately, these scams are widespread and can cause much damage to your case. That’s why it is so important to have the right immigration lawyer in Texas by your side to help you navigate the process and avoid immigration scams. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the most common scams and how to avoid them. Stay safe, and don’t let scammers take advantage of you!

Immigration Scams are Common 

Unfortunately, the immigration process in the U.S. is very long and complicated. This makes immigrants vulnerable to scammers who promise to help speed up the process or make it easier. Ultimately, many of these scammers are very good at what they do. They can easily deceive people into handing over their money or personal information. Additionally, they will advertise their services to help your situation, but their goal is typically to take your money. Don’t be tricked by scammers who promise to help with your immigration status.

What are the Basic Immigration Scams?

A few scams are common when applying for a green card. These scams can be very tempting, but don’t be fooled. Look at these basic scams below and learn how to avoid them.

“Notarios Publicos”

A “notario publico” or a notary public is an influential lawyer in many Latin American countries. However, in the U.S., a notary public is someone who witnesses signatures on necessary documents. State governments appoint them, and they are not lawyers. Additionally, they are not authorized to help with immigration paperwork. In Latin America, some people may try to help you fill out your paperwork or provide other services to assist with applying for a green card. However, do not give them any money or personal information. Only an attorney recognized by the Department of Justice can provide you with legal advice and help you apply for a visa to the U.S.

Scam Websites

Many websites say they can help you with the process of getting a green card. However, be careful of these websites because some might be scams. Another thing to look out for is websites that say they are partners with the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services). Even if they provide step-by-step guidelines for filling out the application, ensure that the website URL ends in “.gov.” If it doesn’t, then it’s probably a scam website. Do not give out any personal information or money to these websites.

Moreover, the USCIS will never ask you to pay for applications. They are always free, and instructions are available in English and Spanish. Therefore, make sure you only use official government websites when applying for a green card. 

Jumping the Line

Some people may contact you and offer to help you get a visa or green card faster. They will ask for money in exchange for this “service.” This is called “jumping the line,” and it’s a scam. Do not pay these people any money! The USCIS doesn’t give exceptions to the standard processing times. Further, no one can receive a visa faster than the usual process

Scams Targeting Students 

Some schools say they can help you get a student visa. However, be careful! They may ask for money in exchange for help. Make sure the school is accredited before you accept help from them. Ultimately, if the university is not accredited, they will not be able to sponsor your student visa. When accepted to an eligible program, you will receive Form I-20.

Money Payments over the Phone

The USCIS will never request money from you over the phone. If someone calls you and asks for money in exchange for helping you with the visa process, this is a scam! In that case, hang up and report the call to the USCIS tip-line.

Giving Information over the Phone 

Additionally, USCIS will never ask for critical information like your social security number or passport number over the phone. If someone calls claiming to be from USCIS, hang up and call the official USCIS line to verify their identity.

Scams Against Refugees 

Scammers may target people who must leave their home country because of persecution, war, or a natural disaster. Moreover, scammers may pose as government officials and offer a grant or other assistance to help them relocate to the United States. If they ask for money upfront to receive this assistance, it is likely a scam. You should immediately contact your resettlement agency and case manager if you are a refugee. They will help you cross-reference this call and determine who the caller is.

If you are a refugee and a scammer has targeted you, don’t hesitate to contact your resettlement agency or case manager for help. You can also report scams to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

How to Avoid Immigration Scams 

Be careful with what information you share and with whom you share it. Additionally, make sure to double-check the information before acting on it. If you are not sure about someone, do not give these individuals or businesses sensitive information or agree to make a payment over the phone. Moreover, do not use any organization that asks for money upfront to help you relocate to the United States. If someone contacts you claiming to be from the government or an immigration agency, ask for their name, title, and contact information.

The best way to avoid these scams is by working with a qualified immigration lawyer in Texas. Dooley Noted can help ensure your application is processed correctly and without any fraud. Contact us today for more information!

Why Hire an Immigration Lawyer in Texas?

If you want to apply for a green card in the United States, we highly recommend hiring an immigration lawyer. There are many reasons why this is a good idea. However, some of the most important ones are that you can avoid common immigration scams and follow the correct procedures. An immigration lawyer knows all of the latest laws and regulations about immigration. Ultimately, they can make sure your application is processed correctly. A lawyer will also protect you from scammers who try to take advantage of people in your situation. Therefore, having a lawyer will also ensure that there are no delays in your application process.

The contents of this post, and the posting and viewing of the information on this post, should not be construed as, and should not be relied upon for, legal advice in any particular circumstance or fact situation. An attorney should be contacted for advice on specific legal issues.

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