How Can Immigrants Avoid Fraud?
As part of
our continuing effort to protect the rights of immigrants,
we have created a list of 14 things that you can do
to help protect yourself from fraud. We constantly
hear of immigrants who have had their money stolen,
by people who were
posing as an attorney . Usually, they either submitted
the incorrect documents, or simply took the
person’s money and did not file anything at
all. If you have any doubts about the person you
are hiring to help you with your case, this list will
help you avoid these problems.
it is not just your fee that is at stake. As a result
of poor advice, people are often required to wait
longer, pay additional costs, and may even be deported.
14 Ways to Protect
Yourself from Fraud
- Ask for references.
Anyone who can’t give you a list of happy
clients probably has a list of unhappy clients.
- Get it in writing. You
should get a contract stating exactly what
the person is going to do and how much
money you will pay for those services
- Get a receipt. Many
immigrants pay with cash. If you don’t have
something in writing, it’s like you’ve
never paid. Clients are always surprised at “how
nice they seemed”, in the beginning.
- Be suspicious of anyone
who charges significantly less money, claims
to “have connections”, or makes a
lot of promises.
- Make copies of all your
important documents to give to the person. Keep
all of the originals for your own records.
- Don’t sign your name
on blank forms.
- Don’t sign any forms
with false information on them. You will very
likely be making your problems worse.
- Report anyone who offers their
services with any “secret law”
- Always ask for proof
that forms have been filed. You should be able
to get a copy or some form of receipt.
- Walk away from anyone who offers
to “get you a spouse” for an additional
fee. This is illegal and will also get
you into more trouble.
- Ask lots of questions.
If the person really knows what they’re
talking about, they should have no problems answering
all of your questions.
- Make sure the person is barred
licensed to practice law. Find out what state
the person is barred in. Go to google and type
in “*whatever state* state bar association”
to check. If the person is not barred, they can
only translate and help you fill out the
forms you bring them. If they offer you legal
advice, you should report them to the State Attorney
General or District Attorney. A google search
will help you locate these folks also.
- Stay informed. You have the
right to know what is happening with your case.
- If you have been taken
advantage of, send us your story so we can post
it on our website or newsletter. You can help
spread the message and warn others. We
like to have your name (and even a photo), but
we understand some people’s need for privacy,
so we also accept anonymous letters.
because you are not a citizen does NOT mean
you have no rights! Know your rights. Protect yourself.
Protect your family.