There are a lot of dishonest people in the world who try to take advantage of others. Scams can be seen everywhere — and immigration is not an exemption. There are scammers who will present themselves as immigration officers or representatives to get crucial information from applicants. It’s important that individuals are aware of these scams and know how to identify them to avoid becoming a victim.

How to Identify Immigration Scams

There are small breadcrumbs that scammers leave behind that can be helpful in identifying their legitimacy. If an individual receives a call from immigration, it’s important to watch out for tell-tale signs of an immigration scam. 

Asking for Money

Immigration never calls an individual to request them to settle their funds. If the caller is asking for money and says that they are owed a payment or fee, it is 99% likely that it is a scam.

Immigration asks applicants to settle their payments by sending a bill in the mail. Applicants can also verify if the bill did in fact come from USCIS via phone call.

Strange Payment Methods

Immigration’s payment methods are verified and have undergone a strict process to ensure their security and confidentiality. It does not accept payments from platforms such as:

  • Western Union
  • MoneyGram
  • PayPal
  • Bitcoin
  • Gift Cards

Any caller asking an applicant to transfer money through these methods is not legitimate. Applicants should make sure they do not provide their credit card or bank information by phone.

Identify Immigration Scams Through the USCIS Website

The USCIS is aware that there are immigration scams going around, which is why it released information about the common immigration scams on its website. These include the following:

  • TRS re-registration scams
  • Immigration scam in India
  • Form I-9 and email scams
  • Notarios públicos
  • Payments by phone or email
  • Winning the visa lottery
  • Scam websites
  • Job offers
  • Scams targeting students
  • Paying money for connections or jumping the line
  • Afghan personal information scam

It’s recommended that applicants go through this list and read up on the common immigration scams so they can identify them and take measures to avoid becoming a victim.

What To Do When You Receive a Call or Email Claiming to be Immigration

Individuals who encounter callers that are claiming to be immigration officials should be wary and careful about how they respond. They should avoid sharing information about themselves, their case, and their financial accounts. The best thing to do is to hang up and speak to an immigration lawyer who can help identify if the call is legitimate.