A rapidly growing area of fraud in the U.S. involves taking advantage of those needing help with immigration processes. The U.S. Departments of Justice, Homeland Security and the Federal Trade Commission recently announced their initiative to fight immigration services scams.
The common thread in this type of fraud involves the unauthorized practice of immigration law. In 2009, Better Business Bureau received several calls from Spanish-speaking consumers inquiring about a Colorado Springs-based company called Immigration Center, amongst many other names, which seemed to be operating in such a manner. The company was shut down in January, 2011 by a federal judge at the request of the FTC.
According to the FTC, the defendants representing the company were charged with violating federal law by misrepresenting:
- That they were authorized to provide immigration and naturalization services.
- That they were affiliated with the U.S. government.
- That the fees paid by consumers would cover all the costs associated with submitting immigration documents to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
“Communities of non-English speaking people are always at a higher risk for being targets of scams,” said Kim States, BBB President. “Victims of immigration service’s scams face a huge loss of time and money (more…)