Top 10 Tips to Avoid Immigration Fraud

  1. Immigration law is complex.
    No matter how simple you think your case is, never try to handle it on your own, and never entrust it to someone without the proper license and training. U.S. immigration law is extremely complicated.
  2. Work with licensed professionals.
    Never hire someone who does not have the proper credentials. In the United States, only two types of people can help you with your immigration case: (1) an immigration attorney with a valid and active U.S. license, or (2) a BIA‐accredited authorized representative. These two classes of professionals can be held responsible if they give you poor advice.
  3. Consult early. Time is of the essence.
    Never delay getting help from a licensed immigration attorney or authorized representative. If you delay your case, you might not have time to gather supporting documents and other information you need to file your papers. This can result in wasted legal fees and severe damage to your immigration case. 
  4. Seek second professional opinions.
    Your case is too important to entrust your case easily to anyone. Do your research by seeking opinions from several licensed immigration lawyers or accredited representatives before deciding whom to hire. 
  5. Your questions are important.
    Never be afraid to ask questions if there is anything that you do not understand about the process. It is not disrespectful or impolite to ask questions of a professional. Your questions may spell the difference in a successful case.
  6. Do not succumb to the fear factor.
    Do not panic or let yourself be intimidated by anyone who tries to frighten you into spending your money on their services. Remember: that person might be a scam artist with no knowledge of immigration law. 
  7. Do not become a willing victim. Verify before trusting.
    Never trust someone easily just because they seem charming, speak your native language, or relate to your emotions.  Fraudsters are well‐versed in putting you at ease, but they may cheat you out of your hard‐earned money and cause you to lose or prevent you from getting the immigration benefits you seek.
  8. Know the professional you choose to hire.
    Before you part with your money, check the background of the professional you choose to hire. Is he/she licensed to practice in the United States? Is his/her license current and active? Has he/she ever been disciplined or sanctioned? Does he/she have prior experience with immigration law? What is the fee structure? Has he/she had success with your type of case in the past? Does he/she have positive client reviews?
  9. Put your agreement in writing.
    See to it that the scope of work, and all the terms and conditions of your agreement, including the cost of services, are put into writing and signed by the professional whom you choose to hire. This will help to protect you from misunderstandings and arguments later.  
  10. Know the agencies that can protect you.
    You may lodge a complaint in case you do not get the services promised. Reporting suspicious and fraudulent activities to enforcement agencies will only help protect consumers of immigration services in general. The government agencies involved in investigating complaints and protecting consumers against fraud are as follows: Federal Trade Commission, Attorney General’s Office, and the Consumer Protection Agency of your city. The American Bar Association (ABA) provides important information at www.fightnotariofraud.org. The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) also provides valuable information at www.stopnotariofraud.org.