Moving to a new country can be an exciting time in a person’s life. It can also be one of the most stressful times. Stress and other difficult emotions can make people vulnerable, and unfortunately, some people want to take advantage of individuals in vulnerable situations. If you have recently come to Michigan with hopes of becoming a U.S. citizen, it is important to remain on the lookout for those who may try to cheat you by claiming to help with your immigration issues.
In some cases, scammers may even try to confuse people into thinking they are from official government agencies, like the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. The efforts they go to can be convincing, which makes it difficult for some immigrants to determine whether it is a scam or not.
Common scams to watch out for
Fortunately, you could help yourself on your immigration journey by understanding some of the more common scam tactics parties use in hopes of getting money or personal information from immigrants. Those scams can include the following examples:
- The use of emails that look like they come from the official USCIS website
- “Notarios publicos” who claim to have legal authority in the United States when only Department of Justice representatives or attorneys have legal authority to handle immigration issues
- Websites made to look like official government websites and used to steal personal information
- Requesting payment in return for helping you move up on immigration-related waitlists or for getting a visa or green card faster
- Trying to get you to make payments over the phone or through email, particularly to an individual, and not through official government channels
It is unseemly that people would try to steal money and information from you and other immigrants who simply want to make the best of their lives in a new country. Still, it is a possibility, and far too many innocent people fall victim to these scams.
How can you best protect yourself?
In addition to being able to recognize some of the more common immigration scams, you could also help yourself by having the right support on your side. For example, working with an experienced immigration law attorney could ensure that you are going through proper legal channels to handle your immigration matters. Plus, if you receive an email or phone call that you feel is suspicious, you could ask your attorney to verify whether it is official correspondence or if it is a scammer.