How to recognize and prevent scams in immigration procedures

Desperation or lack of knowledge often leads many migrants to fall into the hands of immigration scmamers. They take advantage of migrants by taking their money, hindering their migration process, and even stealing their identity. Therefore, today we will see how to avoid immigration scams.

A professional immigration attorney can assist you at every step of your immigration process, keeping immigration scammers away. Don’t risk your future with false shortcuts. At Urbina Immigration Law we can provide you with the quality legal advice you deserve. Contact us and get the legal help you need.

What is the difference between immigration fraud and immigration scams?

While both are felonies serious crimes and have severe legal consequences, they should not be confused. Fraud involves falsifying or lying on documents or statements to obtain immigration benefits. On the other hand, immigration scams are fraudulent schemes to obtain money, taking advantage of the vulnerability of many migrants.

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Both immigration scams and fraud are serious crimes with severe legal consequences.

How to avoid immigration scams?

The most important thing to avoid immigration scams is to detect them as early as possible. Fortunately, this is relatively easy once you know what you are looking for. Here are some signs that you may be dealing with a scammer:

  • Too-good-to-be-true prognosis: A common example of immigration scammers are those who give you too-good-to-be-true news. For example, if other lawyers have told you that you do not qualify for a green card or visa but this one says it will not be a problem, or when they tell you that you can avoid deportation by paying money to ICE officials.
  • “Guarantees” of a specific outcome: Any legitimate immigration attorney knows that each case is unique and there is no absolute “guarantee” that the applicant will receive the benefit sought. Be suspicious of anyone who guarantees a specific outcome regardless of your individual case.
  • Failure to explain the process: Immigration scammers often promise to obtain the immigration benefit sought by requesting information or documents without explaining how the process works or why the applicant would be eligible.
  • Communicating in an unofficial manner: Any official U.S. government website or email address must end in “.gov”. Otherwise, it is likely to be a scam. In addition, USCIS will never call you to request information about your case.
  • Strange payments: Migration scammers often ask applicants to pay fees in strange ways, such as through Western Union or PayPal. Always keep in mind that if you do not pay a required fee, USCIS will return your application for resubmission, but will never call you or send you an email requesting payment.

This will help you identify immigration scammers, but nothing replaces the advice of an immigration attorney. A professional can give you the information you want and need to know to avoid this kind of scams. Don’t risk your future with false shortcuts. At Urbina Immigration Law we can help you. Tell us about your case and get the legal help you deserve.

Types of immigration fraudsters

As mentioned above, immigration scammers can cost you money, hinder your immigration process, or even steal your identity. However, some scammers target immigrants at every step of the process. Therefore, below you will find the most common types of immigration scams.

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There are many types of immigration scammers, but with the right knowledge and advice they are easy to recognize.

Fake notaries pretending to be lawyers

This class of immigration scammers calls themselves “notaries”, offering to present the necessary documentation for an exorbitant fee. However, they fail to produce the documents and, in addition, often apply for immigration benefits for ineligible applicants, creating more problems for their victims.

In the United States a notary is someone who is licensed to certify signatures, not to practice law. Only an immigration attorney can assist you in your immigration process, being the best tool to avoid scams. At Urbina Immigration Law we can help you. Talk to a lawyer and get the quality legal help you deserve.

Impostors impersonating the government

Another class of immigration scammers are those who impersonate government officials and/or agencies such as USCIS. They usually contact their victims informing them that there is a problem with their immigration status, and offering to “fix it” in exchange for a fee. In addition, they also collect your personal information to steal your identity.

Therefore, it is important to know the official means of communication and to contact a reputable lawyer in case of any suspicious call. It can identify this kind of fraudsters, avoiding the damage they cause. At Urbina Immigration Law we can help you. Contact us and get real quality legal help.

Telephone scams

These immigration scammers contact their victims by phone pretending to be from DHS or USCIS, requesting personal information or payment. USCIS does not request information over the phone, and DHS does not use direct numbers for outbound calls.

Therefore, you should not give any information or money in response to these calls, but contact your trusted lawyer and inform him/her of what happened. At Urbina Immigration Law we can help you avoid these kinds of scams. Contact us, get the legal help you need and clarify any doubts about your immigration process.

Fraudulent websites

In these cases, immigration fraudsters create websites with logos and addresses similar to the official ones. This tricks victims into sending immigration documents and paying false fees that go directly to the scammers. Fortunately, to identify an official site you only need to verify that the link ends in “.gov”.

However, in order for you to avoid this kind of scams, here is a list of the official websites of some of the most popular government agencies for immigration processes:

Diversity visa scams

These types of immigration scammers send an email to their victims, pretending to be from the U.S. Department of State. In this one they claim that the “applicant” won the diversity visa lottery, asking for money through unofficial means of payment to “process the visa application”. 

Skip these emails, report it to the authorities and contact a reputable attorney immediately. He can advise you on the official forms of communication and means of payment. At Urbina Immigration Law we can help you. Contact us and get the quality legal help you need to avoid immigration scams.

Threats of deportation

In these cases, immigration scammers pose as ICE agents, visiting or harassing immigrants with false warrants and threatening to deport them if they do not pay large sums of money. Luckily these kinds of scams are easy to identify, as real ICE agents will never ask you for money.

In any case, if you are served with a deportation order by any means, you should first seek legal assistance. An immigration attorney can verify that the order is true and help you defend yourself. At Urbina Immigration Law we can help you. Tell us your case and let’s defend your rights together.

How to avoid immigration scams when seeking advice?

The most common way immigration scammers operate is by posing as immigration attorneys. However, you should be aware that USCIS recognizes only two types of authorized immigration service providers:

  • Licensed attorneys in good standing: Legal professionals licensed to practice law in at least one state, as listed by the American Bar Association (ABA). In addition, you can check the list of misbehavior in the Department of Justice (DOJ) to avoid disreputable attorneys.
  • Non-accredited attorneys: The Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) recognizes certain non-profit organizations that may provide legal services. Any non-attorney within that organization should appear on this list of DOJ accredited representatives.

At Urbina Immigration Law, our bar-certified professionals can help you navigate the difficulties of the immigration system. Don’t risk your future by taking false shortcuts. Tell us about your case today and get the quality legal help you need to get your immigration process moving.

How to report a scam?

If you have been a victim of a scam or have been approached in a suspicious manner, you can report it in the following ways:

Contacting the authorities

Contact your state authorities and the Federal Trade Commission immediately. Do not give any information or money to anyone until you are sure you are dealing with an official source.

Resend suspicious e-mails to USCIS

If you receive a suspicious email, do not respond to it. Forward the email directly to the USCIS Webmaster at [email protected] so they can investigate.

Inform USCIS

You can report an immigration scam to USCIS. It is important to report these kinds of crimes so that government officials can prevent immigration scammers from targeting future victims.

You can avoid these immigration scammers by being alert and using common sense. However, nothing replaces the security of having a reliable immigration attorney. At Urbina Immigration Law we can guide you through your immigration process, avoiding problems and scams. Talk to a lawyer and get quality legal help.

Where can I report immigration scams?

You can report immigration scams by calling 1-877-382-4357 (press 2 for Spanish options) or 1-866-653-4261 (press TTY for hearing impaired). You can also file a complaint online with the Federal Trade Commission.

Can reporting a scam to USCIS affect my application?

No, reporting to USCIS that you have been a victim of a scam will not affect your application. In addition, you can make your report anonymously and it is important to report these types of crimes so that immigration scammers do not target other victims.

Can a person be deported for fraud in the immigration process?

Yes, a person could be deported if found to be in fraud or any other violation of U.S. law. However, there are some crimes that can be pardoned. Therefore, for any grounds of deportation or inadmissibility, it is best to speak with an attorney.

What is an immigration waiver?

Also known as an “migratory pardon”, a waiver is a pardon granted by the U.S. government to aliens who have violated U.S. laws. It is usually granted to immigrants deemed inadmissible who meet certain requirements.

As we have seen, there are many types of immigration fraudsters who take advantage of the vulnerabilities of the migrant community to make fraudulent money. Fortunately, identifying these kinds of scams is relatively easy with the right knowledge and using common sense. 

However, having an attorney to advise you through the process by explaining the timeline and fee structure is the best defense against immigration scams. Don’t be lured by false shortcuts and promises. At Urbina Immigration Law we can help you. Contact us and ensure the integrity of your immigration process.


USCIS – Common Scams

USCIS – Report Immigration Scams

USCIS – Avoid Scams Resource Center

Other Resources

Immigration fraud: know its implications

How to avoid deportation in the U.S.: the complete guide

What are the reasons to deport a person from the United States?

What is a Migratory Waiver and how should I apply for it?

Obstacles to the immigration process: What crimes does immigration not forgive?

How the Diversity Visa Lottery Program Works

Top 10 Most Common Myths about Immigration to the U.S.