Scams are an issue that affect Americans from all walks of life. Recently, immigrants have become more popular targets for several variations of scams. Frequently, scammers will call or email recent immigrants, pretending to be an official with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or a similar government office. These callers will typically claim that there is a problem with the application or request additional information in order to continue the immigration process. It is important of be wary of such contact, and to be careful about what information you give over the phone.
Information and Payment Used for Scams
Frequently, once a caller has claimed to be a government official, they will then demand either personal information or payment from the individual that they have called. The reason given will be to “fix” the problem that they have identified in the application process. If this happens to you, it is important to remember that USCIS officials will never ask for payment over the phone or in an email. In a situation in which the USCIS requires payment, they will mail a letter on official stationery making their request.
Common USCIS Scams
Individuals pretending to be USCIS officials frequently use tactics such as:
- Demanding payment to “fix” issues
- Making requests to pay fees directly to them rather than the USCIS
- Claiming that an individual has been selected for the Diversity Visa Program, or Visa Lottery, in order to obtain personal information
- Using scam websites meant to imitate official USCIS pages
- Making false job offers over email in order to obtain personal information
Tips for Avoiding Common USCIS Scams
When trying to determine whether or not the person who is contacting you is trying to scam you, there are several tips that you can keep in mind:
- The USCIS does not accept Western Union or PayPal as payment for immigration fees
- The USCIS will never ask you to pay fees over phone or email
- Only pay immigration fees through mail with checks or money orders
- Do not respond to Visa Lottery claims sent over email
- Ensure that the web address on any USCIS websites has .gov in the URL
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Fight for the Rights of Immigrant Workers
If you or someone you know is a recent immigrant to the United States, and is in need of assistance, there is no need to struggle alone. The Philadelphia immigration lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. are prepared to help you through the process. Contact us online or call 215-925-4435 to schedule a consultation.