SACRAMENTO, Calif. — On Friday the attorney general of California issued a consumer alert warning residents about immigration tied into the recent Supreme Court Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) decision.
According to Attorney General Xavier Becerra's office, the scams involve people offering up counseling and legal assistance.
“Immigration scams that prey on the hopes and dreams of those seeking a better life in the United States are simply unacceptable,” said Attorney General Becerra. “It’s important to always be cautious in the face of offers that seem too good to be true. That’s why my office is issuing a number of key recommendations to avoid falling prey to fraudulent immigration consultants. It’s a time to celebrate, but it’s also a time to remain vigilant. Here at the California Department of Justice, we’ll continue to do everything we can to stand up for the rights of everyone — no matter who you are or where you come from.”
If you feel you have been a victim of an immigration scam, contact your local district attorney, department of consumer affairs, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and report it to the California attorney general.
The attorney general's office also issued the following recommendations:
- Do not hire an immigration consultant or a notary. Immigration consultants are not attorneys or experts in immigration law;
- Do not hire an immigration attorney until you confirm that the person is licensed to practice law. Notaries and immigration consultants may unlawfully offer legal advice or even tell you that they are immigration attorneys;
- Do not pay for immigration forms. Such forms can be accessed for free by visiting the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website at uscis.gov/forms;
- Get immigration information from dot-gov (.gov) websites that are affiliated with the government. Information on dot-com (.com), dot-net (.net) or other websites may be wrong and should not be trusted;
- Do not pay for immigration services until you have received, read and understand a paper copy of your contract. If you are not fluent in English, you should request that the contract be translated;
- Be careful about giving your original documents to anyone. You should not provide your original documents;
- Do not sign an immigration form that includes incorrect information or blanks. Before you sign any immigration forms, be sure that the forms are fully and accurately filled out;
- Do not give money or any personal information to people who call on the telephone, claiming that there is a problem with your immigration matter. No federal or state agency, including USCIS, will ever ask for your personal information or payment over the phone, by email, or text; and
- Keep copies of all documents associated with your immigration matter, including copies of the immigration documents filed and correspondence from the government regarding your immigration status.