US Immigration News

Watch Out for These Common US Immigration Scams

4 minute read
"Living in the United States is a lifelong dream of many immigrants who come to the US from all over the world in the hopes of living better lives. However, immigrating to the US permanently is also a long process after being eligible for a US visa program. It requires you to be very diligent when it comes to filing paperwork, taking tests and attending interviews."
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  May 10, 2021
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Living in the United States is a lifelong dream of many immigrants who come to the US from all over the world in the hopes of living better lives. However, immigrating to the US permanently is also a long process after being eligible for a US visa program. It requires you to be very diligent when it comes to filing paperwork, taking tests and attending interviews. 

This can be quite an overwhelming process. It also makes you vulnerable to immigration scammers who are looking to take advantage of desperate immigrants. However, falling prey to such scammers may cause you serious stress, the loss of money and even serious consequences on your particular visa application and future efforts.

Immigrants are easier to target as they are unfamiliar with the US immigration process and are usually anxious to get any help. Sometimes, they don’t speak English and are not familiar with the cultural norms, making it easier to prey on them and take advantage of their vulnerability. 

How to Spot an Immigration Scammer in General?

Their Sales Pitch is Too Good or Too Easy

It isn’t too hard to spot an immigration scam, especially if you know what you are dealing with. For example, if the news presented to you is too good or too easy to be true, then it probably is. If you approached by an immigration consultant and they inform you that you do not qualify for a Green Card but you later receive an email or a phone call claiming that they can get you one, it is clear that you are being scammed. 

They Provided a Guarantee

If you are being provided a “guarantee” of any kind regarding an immigration process, then this is a red flag. There is no guarantee that you will receive a Green Card or any other US visa approval. 

Not Providing Details About Eligibility or the Process of Your US Visa

It is a scam if they fail to provide you with any information about the process or your eligibility. Immigration scammers will simply claim that you will get a Green Card or a work permit. Asking for details can save you a lot of trouble and from getting scammed out of your money. 

What Are the Common US Immigration Scams to Avoid?

The most common immigration scams taking place these days are:

Phone and Email Payments

Receiving a phone call or an email that demands you to make a payment to an individual to get help with your immigration forms is a big red flag. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will never contact any immigrant to request any sort of payment in this manner. Usually, immigration scammers pretend to be officials from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or the USCIS. Never give your personal or payment information over the phone since USCIS will never ask for such information over the phone. 

Visa Lottery Email

This one needs to be separate from the email scams. The US State Department conducts a ‘visa lottery’, where the Diversity Visa Program chooses applicants for permanent residency. However, even if you have applied for this lottery, it is always best to remain wary of emails claiming that you have won the lottery since the USCIS does not send emails to deliver important information. 

Alternative Payment Methods

If the person is asking you to transfer money through payment methods like Western Union, PayPal, or even retail gift cards, then it is a scam. 

The USCIS only accepts payments through cheques or money orders addressed to the US Department of Homeland Security. If you fail to pay any USCIS fees, your application will be returned to you. However, the USCIS will never call or email you to request payment.

Notaries Posing as Lawyers: 

This is quite a persistent form of immigration scam where some unqualified and unlicensed person will pretend to be a lawyer to help you with immigration paperwork for a large fee, but then they will never file your paperwork with the government, and will often create more problems for you. 

Imposters Posing as Government or with Fake Websites: 

This is the most dangerous type of immigration scam where people or websites may pretend to be affiliated with government agencies such as the USCIS or the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). They will often call, email or visit you to tell you that there is a problem that needs to be fixed and will demand a fee in return. 

They may even falsely threaten you with application denial or deportation orders if you fail to pay the fee. Some of these scams are just to get immediate payments. However, some may verify personal information to steal your identity. 

The US government websites or emails must always end in “.gov” - if it is not the case, then it is likely that the emails or websites are attempting to scam you. The USCIS will never call you to get information about your case.

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