Common Scams Targeting Immigrants
What to Know What to Do

Immigration can be complicated. It can feel frustrating until you find the right kind of help.

  • Do not go to a notario, notario público, or a notary public for legal advice. They cannot give you legal advice. Only lawyers and Accredited Representatives can help you with immigration.

  • Never pay for government forms from the U.S. government. Government forms are free.

  • Get immigration information from U.S. government websites. Make sure that the website address includes .gov - that means the website is from the U.S. government.

  • Never pay for government forms from the U.S. government. Government forms are free.

  • Never sign a form that is blank. Never sign a form that has false information in it.

  • Do not let anyone keep your original documents, like your passport or birth certificate.

  • Keep a copy of every document you turn in. Keep a copy of every letter you get from the United States government.

  • You will get a receipt when you turn in your forms. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will give it to you. Keep the receipt. You will need it to check on your application.

  • Never pay money to get information on a job offer.
What happens if I paid a Notario?
You might need an immigration lawyer’s help. And you have probably lost your money.
It is important to report what happened to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC uses complaints to build cases against scammers. Any information you can give helps investigators.

  • Call the FTC at 1-877-382-4357
  • Go online: can help you figure out your immigration status.
Always use a regulated remittance service.
RIA, Western Union and MoneyGram are common walk-in services. Direct Bank account transfers if both parties have bank accounts. Bank Wire Transfers and prepaid debit cards tend to have high fees and are bet used when sending large amounts of money that exceed the daily or monthly limits. Credit card transfers will often charge you extra fees.
You can also use your smart phone’s browser to access a money transfer service website. Paypal accounts are free to use.
Remember – compare fees, exchange rates, and total cost when choosing a remittance or money transfer service. Try Viamericas service to calculate total cost – Another good website is
You have the right to:

  • Have the money delivered to the correct person and address

  • Before you pay, and after the transfer is sent, receive information about:

  • Exchange rate

  • Fees and taxes

  • Exact amount to be received

  • Cancel a transfer within 30 minutes of sending.

  • Report a problem to the money transfer company within 180 days and have it investigated.
Contact the CFPB if you have a problem at 855.411.2372 or at: