With all of the uncertainty surrounding the fate of immigrants here in the United States at present, many people throughout the country, including many here in Kentucky, are struggling to solidify their right to remain in the country. Obtaining a green card, receiving asylum or refugee status, and becoming a naturalized citizen have all gained even more importance.
The problem is that nearly everyone knows this, and some are determined to take advantage of vulnerable immigrants eager to have their issues resolved as quickly and efficiently as possible. Several scammers are at work right now taking hard-earned money from people like you.
Some of the scams to look out for
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has compiled a list of common scams to which you could become a victim:
- If you come from a country in which a "notario publico" is an attorney, you should know it does not mean the same thing here. A notary public here in the U.S. cannot give legal advice and is not an attorney, so do not allow one to let you believe he or she can assist you with your immigration issues.
- The U.S. Department of State administers the Lottery Visa, or Diversity Visa, program. The agency would never send you an email regarding your selection.
- USCIS never sends emails regarding visa or other immigration benefits. If you do receive an email from USCIS check to see if the extension is ".gov."
- Some websites claim to be affiliated with USCIS, but are not. Websites actually affiliated with USCIS end in .gov, and you will never pay for forms.
- You may only attend an accredited college or university on a student visa. Be sure that the school you are applying to possesses the appropriate accreditation.
- No one should ask you to pay for documents or to submit them before USCIS publishes TPS re-registration information for your country of origin.
- If you receive a notification to make payment to an individual, through PayPal or through Western Union, that request did not come from USCIS. The agency will not ask you to make payments via email or phone, but instead, through its website if that option is available to you.
With something as important as your ability to remain in this country at stake, if you have any doubt regarding the trustworthiness or truthfulness of a communication you supposedly received from USCIS, it may be a good idea to make inquiries directly to the agency. You may also find it useful to consult with an immigration attorney who can verify whether a communication is a scam or valid and may also assist you in your dealings with USCIS, ICE and other governmental agencies.