Six tips to protect yourself from an immigration scam
(BPT) – Transit through the immigration process in the United States is not without difficulties, especially for those who are learning to speak English. There is always something to consider, from the anxiety of deciding whether we are eligible for a green card or another visa, to the consultation of different sources of information and the latent fear that we have forgotten some procedure.
If the above situations seem familiar to you, you are not alone, and while you are doing your best to ensure that your immigration materials are processed effectively, be sure to watch out for any maneuvers by potential scammers.
Immigration scams can take many forms. In some cases, the victim receives a phone call from a person posing as an immigration officer, who notifies them that there is a problem with their immigration history, and must pay a certain amount to resolve the problem. In another variant, the offender presents himself at the victim’s house, identifying himself as an agent of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The alleged agent claims that the reason for his visit is to comply with an arrest warrant, threatening to deport the victim. There are also scams on the internet. For example, one of the scam methods is an email message notifying the recipient thatYou have won the diversity visa lottery , but you must pay a certain amount of money to receive the visa. Another method is when a person mistakenly submits their immigration documents to a fake website that perfectly mimics the original, but is actually fraudulent.
Although scams can have different methods, their purpose is to take advantage of the fear of losing immigration status, and use it to steal money or personal information. Western Union offers the following protection tips for you and your family so that you can correctly identify a scam:
Be wary of cash payment requests
While cash is still a viable payment option for many transactions, be wary of someone asking you to pay that way. A legitimate government agency will accept other forms of payment, and also always remember that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service does not accept cash payments.
Verify the information
Regardless of whether a person contacts you by phone or in person, always check what they tell you. Don’t be afraid to ask for credentials, and examine them carefully. Contacting the Better Business Bureau (if the scammer pretends to be a lawyer or other private service) or the appropriate government agency can help you verify if the person who contacted you is really who they say they are.
Never pay for obtaining immigration forms
Any person or entity that forces you to pay for those forms is a scammer. The actual forms you need are available to you on the website of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Make copies of your documents
There is no doubt that sometimes it is difficult to handle so many papers, but it is advisable to make a habit of making copies of each document related to your immigration status, especially those that you have submitted to government agencies, or show correspondence with. government. Such copies will be invaluable if a question comes up later, so saving them will give you peace of mind.
There are no fees or extra payments
If the payment of a proposed fee seems questionable to you, it probably is. ICE will never ignore alleged violations of immigration laws upon payment of a specified amount. Similarly, the United States Department of State will never ask you by email to pay a visa lottery fee.
Always alert the authorities
If you believe that you have been the victim of an immigration scam, or fear that you have sent money to a scammer through Western Union , call the company’s helpline at 800-448-1492 to report the situation. Western Union can cancel the transaction if the transfer has not been paid, and refund the money sent.
To access more information on immigration and other scams, and ways to protect yourself against them, visit the Western Union