Avoiding Scams, Fraud, and Predatory Immigration Practices

Immigration scams are common in the United States and they target the most vulnerable people in immigrant communities. Protect yourself, your family, and loved ones with the following information and avoid falling victim. 

How to spot a scam

Immigration scams usually promise positive outcomes in an immigration case. As the expression goes, "if it's too good to be true, it probably is". The following examples indicate a likely immigration scam: 

  • You have to pay for a USCIS form. 

  • You have to pay to get ahead of the line. 

  • You are being asked to fill out a blank form. 

  • You are being told to visit a notary public or "notario" for an immigration form. 

  • You are being asked to make a payment via e-mail, telephone, or social media. 

  • You are being asked for personal and/or identifying information via e-mail,  telephone, or social media. 

  • You are being asked to make a payment via a gift card, money transfer, or cryptocurrency.  

  • You are being asked for money to receive a job offer in the United States.

  • You are consulted to deliberately lie, mislead, or withhold the truth on a USCIS form by your representative. 

  • Your representative is not an attorney, accredited representative, or affiliated to a recognized non-profit organization. 

Learn and empower others 

When deciding on an accredited representative or attorney, it is important to keep the following things in mind in order to avoid being scammed: 

  • USCIS forms are free, however USCIS filing fees have a cost.

  • No method or mechanism to "get ahead of the line" exists. 

  • You should never sign a blank form for any purpose. 

  • Notary publics are not accredited representatives or attorneys. 

  • USCIS will never contact you make a payment via e-mail, telephone, or social media. USCIS will only ever contact you via mail. 

  • USCIS will only ever request information via mail through an official Request for Evidence (RFE)

  • If you received a Notice of Action, this indicates USCIS accepted your filing fees and no further payment action is required

  • Job offers in the United States are always free. 

  • An accredited representative or attorney should never consult clients to deliberately mislead USCIS. 

  • Only accredited representatives and attorneys have the appropriate training to consult clients on immigration matters. 

Report an immigration scam 

We encourage people to report any immigration scam they experienced.  

 

Please contact the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. 

For more information on how to avoid and report immigration scams, visit the FTC website here or visit the USCIS website here