Immigrants becoming targets for scammers - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Immigrants becoming targets for scammers

Immigrants are becoming targets for scams because they may not fully understand the language or have all their papers. (Source: WOIO) Immigrants are becoming targets for scams because they may not fully understand the language or have all their papers. (Source: WOIO)
(WOIO) - People who don't speak our language, or may not have all their papers to be here, are prime targets for scammers. That includes some of the 13,000 Hispanic residents who call Ohio home. With new laws allowing for their temporary legal residency, they're getting duped with false promises.

"They're always going to take advantage," says Gilberto Urbina, of an Hispanic-American Association that represents immigrants.

He says reports of immigration scams are making the rounds.

"They prey on the desire of the people to conform to the law and they take their money," he adds.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is warning immigrants to beware of anyone who offers to help submit an application or request.

"They can get up to $30,000 a month. It's very lucrative, but it's all fraud," says Urbina.

Fraud that will not only cost immigrants money, but could also leave them facing deportation. 

"I think because of the excitement of this new program, to get these people that have been underground to come out, they're going to be susceptible and trust more people and go to the first person that caters to them. So, this gives an opportunity for scammers to take advantage of them," explains immigration attorney Jose Sanchez. 

He explains that immigrants fall victim to public notaries who exploit the fact that the Spanish word for notary means "lawyer" in some Latin American countries.

"So, when these immigrants come from Central and South America, and they see these advertisements for notary publics, many of them who do income taxes, then these people think they're attorneys and trust them to do immigration law," he says.

Urbina says another problem is catching the scam artists, since immigrants are usually afraid to come forward.

"Many of these victims do not want to testify against them or say anything because they're fearful that they will incur additional problems," according to Urbina.
 
Below are some agencies that offer legitimate help. The U.S. Justice Department says you want someone who is recognized by their Board of Immigration Appeals.

-USCIS Service and Office Locator
-National Immigration Legal Services Directory
 
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