immigrants: easy target for scammers

Photo: Alejandra Salcedo
By Maria Teresa Perez

The fight against fraudsters, whose target is the immigrant community, It took four people to prison in a case recently dismantled in Los Angeles, California.

This is one of the last cases decided by the authorities, by which the scammers will pay sentences ranging from five to fifteen years in prison for a fool 300 victims.

The affected, who transacted various immigration cases, They never had a positive response, nor they imagined they were prey to deception even though their "immigration consultants" demanded cash payment.

Thence, to choose the right person to help you understand how the process works US immigration, It is the key to becoming resident or citizen, warn the authorities of the Federal Trade Commission (Federal Trade Commission, FTC).

"The assistance announced in shop windows, on websites, In the newspaper, on the radio, or through persons known, You can hurt ", warn.

According to the FTC, even those with good intentions as a friend, your pastor, a teacher or a family member, They can cause problems later, to move forward a process.

Appropriate help, according to the report, It comes only from those organizations and persons authorized by the government of the United States.

To avoid a scam, the FTC recommends: Do not go to a notary or notary public to legally advise; in United States, a notary is not a lawyer, and can not provide legal advice and, therefore you can not speak on your behalf with government agencies, as the Citizenship and Immigration United States (USCIS) for its acronym in English, or the Board of Immigration Appeals Justice Department.

The Commission warns, Never pay for blank forms issued by the government, since these are free. Even though, probably you have to pay when filed with the USCIS.

Immigration forms can be obtained via the website, calling 1-800-870-3676 or visiting the local USCIS office nearest.

Advise, that adequate support for two-way only: the first is to use representatives accredited by the government, who they are not lawyers, but people are authorized to provide legal advice on immigration issues.

Secondly, you can use lawyers who work immigration issues, and they charge low fees. The list of these professionals is available at

Report scams

The FTC urges the public to report, if you have been a victim or a witness to such scams, calling 1-877-382-4387 or to find out the details of your state attorney general to click on the corresponding state on the map in

The more information and details submitted, more use will have that report for the person who will investigate the case, authorities recommend.