Immigrants living in Utah may find themselves faced with increasingly aggressive scammers as immigration reform continues to be a topic of national interest, according to this article in the Salt Lake Tribune. Immigration attorneys in Utah caution residents to recognize the signs of scammers and to report fraudulent activity, with representatives of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) making reassuring statements that victims of immigration scams won’t be deported, but may even be rewarded.
Immigration attorneys in Utah, the US attorney for Utah and the Utah attorney general all urge people with tips or questions about immigrations scams to come forward. Reporting anonymously is available via CIS or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) websites, but the US attorney for Utah wants to offer victims protection for speaking up, too.
Fraud and scams affecting the community of undocumented immigrants takes many forms in Utah. One is the notarios who falsely advertise their ability to perform legal immigration services due to the confusion around the way the word translates into English. Other scams include individuals falsely disguised as immigration officials who agree to meet with individuals in their homes, obtain a wealth of personal information about undocumented individuals, exact a fee of $7,000 to $10,000 per person, and then do nothing. When victims would suspect fraud, the scammer would threaten the victim and family with deportation, aided significantly by the personal information collected in their home meeting.
Immigration attorneys in Utah warn that other scams include aggressive telephoning of individuals who have filed immigration petitions. The scammer insist that the petitioner didn’t pay the right fee, and demand money immediately, threatening deportation. US Citizenship and Immigration Services emphasize that they never threaten deportation, and that the Department of Homeland Security will never agree to meet a person outside the office to conduct business, and undocumented individuals should hang up the phone with one of these calls, and stay away from home meetings.
One of the most common immigration scams is demanding payment of a fee in exchange for free resources, such as obtaining free online forms or making appointments with immigration officials. Immigration attorneys in Utah caution undocumented individuals to research the credentials of anyone offering help with forms and filing either online or within the community, as rising incidences of these scams are being reported.
These scams are such a big deal right now not only due to the present political climate in Congress, but also because of the fast-changing programs and eligibility requirements; scammers are preying on the confusion of individuals and delay in information dissemination to the public. The US attorney for Utah has come forward urging victims to report these crimes of fraud, and states that officials may even offer a “U visa” to victims of such crimes for their help, citing the twenty individuals to whom these visas were awarded for their assistance in convicting one scammer posing as an immigration official. State officials, prosecutors, and immigration attorneys in Utah are recognizing that these predatory actions do nothing to gain the confidence of the undocumented immigrant community, and indeed only spread the seeds of fear. Stand with them to put a stop to it today.