Immigration scams and how to avoid them

From USCIS website, they give the following notice.  “We don’t want you to become a victim of an immigration scam. If you need legal advice on immigration matters, make sure the person helping you is authorized to give legal advice. Only an attorney or an accredited representative working for a Board of Immigration Appeals-recognized organization can give you legal advice.”

The following are the Common Immigration Scams

Phone Scams

Phone scams are among the most common type of scams targeted at immigrants. These callers often pose as USCIS or other government officials. These scammers often ask for information such as your social security number if you are a U.S. citizen, your passport number or an A-number. They often give you false information informing you that there is an issue with your immigration record and are seeking payment to rectify those issues. Be aware that USCIS never calls an immigrant seeking payment for immigration applications or to correct your immigration history.

You can avoid this scam by simply telling a caller “No, Thank You,” and hanging up the phone. These callers are just seeking enough information from your so they can steal your identity. If you have received a call from someone posing as a USCIS official report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission.

“Notario Publicos”

In Latin-American communities, there are many people who advertise “Notario Publico” services to immigrants. In Spanish speaking countries, a “notarios” are qualified attorneys, but in the U.S. a “notario public” (notary public in the English) is not a legal expert, they are individuals that witness signing of important documents and have do not necessarily have any legal training with immigration matters.

If a “notorio” offers to help you with your visa or citizenship application you should make certain they are qualified to practice immigration law in the U.S. before giving them any money.

Local Businesses That Charge to File USCIS

Some local businesses promise to help immigrants with their USCIS applications for a fee. These fees are typically more costly than filing your form with the USCIS directly. These businesses often have no legal expertise and you may be shelling out hundreds to thousands of dollars for nothing. If you need help filing out any immigration applications it is better to retain an immigration attorney.

Visa Scams

Any person or business who promises to get you a visa quickly is not being honest with you. There is no way to speed up or change the processing of visa applications. These scammers often prey on immigrants when it’s time for the USCIS to award diversity visas.

Tips to Help You from Becoming a Victim of an Immigration Scam

These tips directly from the USCIS can help you avoid being the target of an immigration scam

Do not sign any blank documents or documents you do not understand

Do not sign any documents that contain incorrect or false information, this could dramatically affect your immigration status.

Do not let anyone keep your original documents.

Do not pay more than nominal fees to anyone who is not an immigration attorney or make any payments over the internet.

Always get a receipt for the services rendered.

The Federal Trade Commission reported an increase in immigration scam just after the pronouncement of President Trump of new immigration policies.

There are many immigration scams to deal with such as:

Giving a fake green card or work permit or fake Social Security Number.

Unauthorized practice of law by “notario publico”  and consultants

Website posing as government agencies and collecting filing fees

Offer of employment and getting money but the employer is not available

Some scammers are posing as ICE agent over the phone to threaten deportation based on tip that the marriage is not real.  It is also possible to show a fake search warrant but it is not common.

These scams worsen the flight of undocumented immigrants.  Aside from the emotional burden, they spent thousands of dollars in unnecessary expenses and if not properly addressed may lead to their deportation for filing a wrong application such as filing asylum when they are not qualified or adjusting status when they do not have the right documents.

Undocumented immigrants must consult and deal with authorized immigration attorney or civic organizations authorized to perform immigration work.  They should not deal with consultants who can make their case worse than before.

Undocumented immigrants need to remember that they have a constitutional right to defend themselves in all aspect of their immigration case no matter what their situation right now.  They need to check the authenticity of the persons they are dealing with and the offer or plan or action they are confronted with.

They can also check online with the USCIS website to know what actions to take in their particular situation



  1. For the week ending September 15, 2017, we received three Immigrant Visa Approval in U.S. Embassy Manila for three applicants who entered as seaman under the Provisional Waiver Program.
  2. For the week ending September 8, 2017, we received four N-400 Naturalization approvals.
  3. On August 31, 2017 we received an approval of adjustment of status for a client who problems with birth certificate which we corrected.
  4. On August 25, 2017, we received approval of I-751 removal of condition on same sex marriage/
  5. On August 18, 2017, we received two approvals for N-400 applications.
  6. On August 16, 2017, we received an approval of I-601A provisional waiver for a Mexican client.
  7. On August 10, 2017, we received a grant from the Immigration Court on a Motion to Terminate Removal Proceedings for a client whose criminal case we have dismissed in criminal court.
  8. On July 18, 2017, we received an approval of green card at the U.S. Embassy Manila for the family of a client who was granted a waiver of misrepresentation. His wife and children were approved after the court granted the waiver.
  9. On June 28, 2017, we received a withdrawal of inadmissibility and removability charges from the Customs and Border Enforcement for a client who was charged with drug case while he was entering San Francisco Airport from the Philippines. The case was withdrawn after we have expunged the drug case in Criminal Court.


If you have immigration problems the Law Offices of Crispin C. Lozano can help you find a solution before your problem gets worse which could lead to deportation and family separation. 

Crispin Caday Lozano, Esq. is an active member of the State Bar of California, the American Immigration Lawyers Association and San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association.  He specializes in immigration law and personal injury.  For free consultation email or call ( / 1-877-456-9266)

Toll Free 1-877-4LOZANO for free consultation or Schedule an Appointment