Have you heard about fraud? 

Fraud is when someone tries to trick you, usually for money. Did you know that scammers often target migrants who are in difficult situations? It is important to be cautious of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok where scammers can spread false information about immigration.

Remember to always verify information with official sources or seek help from trusted organizations to avoid falling victim to scams. Stay informed and protect yourself from fraud!


This article will cover some basic types of fraud to look out for, including: 

  🕵️‍ Government imitators

  💻 Social Media Scams about Immigration

  👨‍⚖️ Sponsorship Scams

  ⚖️ Notario Public Fraud

  🤝 Get the Right Help


1. 🕵️‍ Government Imitators

Government imitators are people who lie and pretend to be government officials. They usually contact migrants through social media and ask you for money or personal information.


💡 Remember: Government officials will only contact you through official government channels. Their online information can be found through uscis.gov and dhs.gov websites. 


🚫 Government officials (from agencies such as USCIS, DHS, EOIR, etc.) will NEVER:

📱 Contact you through social media, 
💰 Ask you to transfer money to someone or pay fees to someone on the phone or by email,

🎁 Accept Western Union, MoneyGram, PayPal, or gift cards as payment for immigration fees.


2. 💻 Social Media Scams about Immigration 

Navigating the online world can be tricky, especially when it comes to important topics like immigration. But do not worry- we are here to help!


💭 Beware of Wishful Thinking Posts: Sometimes, online information can sound too good to be true, like secret shortcuts to get where you want to be. Remember, if it seems too easy, it probably is!

✅ Double-Check with Trusted Sources: Think of social media as a giant playground – it is fun, but before you believe everything you see, check with reliable sources like official government websites or trusted community organizations.

🙅‍♂️ Watch Out for Unreliable Platforms: Places like Facebook, WhatsApp, and even TikTok can be breeding grounds for misleading stories about immigration. Scammers might try to connect with you on these platforms, promising help but ultimately stealing your money or giving you bad advice that could lead to trouble.

♻️ Share Only Reliable Information: If you ever see something online that sounds suspicious about immigration, don't share it! Sharing something untrue can make things confusing for others.


Some common lies to look out for that scammers spread on social media are: 

😷 The U.S. borders are open now that the COVID pandemic is getting better

🛤️ The environmental conditions are good or safe on the route to the U.S.

🌍 Migration to the U.S. is “easier” now in general

🗽 You will achieve the “American dream"


You can see more examples of real immigration scam posts in this recent study by the Tech Transparency Project (TTP). 


💡 Remember: It’s important that you, your family and friends are aware about immigration fraud and that you do not trust everything that you see on social media. 


3. 👨‍⚖️ Sponsorship Scams

Programs like Uniting for Ukraine or Processes for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans offer a legal way to stay in the US for a limited amount of time. But there is one important step: finding a sponsor. Unfortunately, scammers are targeting this requirement, trying to trick you out of money or personal information.

⛔ These scammers might: 

  • Promise to be your sponsor (but for a price!): Be careful if someone offers to be your sponsor but wants money or personal information (like your passport details) in return. 
  • Pretend to be from USCIS and ask for extra fees: If you receive an email saying you need to pay extra for USCIS to review your application, ignore it! USCIS websites list all the fees upfront, and there are no hidden costs.

Finding a sponsor is important, but it should never involve a payment or sharing personal details. If something about a sponsorship offer seems suspicious, talk to a trusted adult or a helpful organization for guidance. They can help you find the right information and avoid getting tricked.


💡 Remember:

💵 DO NOT send money to anyone making promises about the reunification process à Agencies will not ask for you to send money over the phone.

💳 DO NOT provide your bank account, social security number, or credit card information to anyone over the phone à Agencies will not ask for you to provide this personal information over the phone.


4. ⚖️ Notario Public Fraud

It is common in many Latin American countries for Notarios to give legal advice and help you with your immigration case. 

Beware! In the U.S., Notarios CANNOT legally help you with your immigration case. Working with a Notario or someone else who is unauthorized to give legal advice can hurt your chances of winning your immigration case.


💡 Remember: Only an attorney (lawyer) or accredited representative working for an organization that is recognized by the Department of Justice can offer legal advice.  


5. 🤝 Get the Right Help

Navigating immigration can be tricky, and having the right guide is just as important as the paperwork itself. While it is normal for friends and family to want to help, they could make mistakes that cause problems for you later on. For example, someone willing to translate or fill out forms with you might not be qualified to give you advice on specific forms or know how to correctly answer questions. Take your time to find the right people to help with your immigration situation.


👉 Here are some options:

👩‍⚖️ Immigration Attorney: They are lawyers who specialize in immigration and can give you legal advice. To make sure they are licensed in your state, click here.

💼 Accredited Representative: Accredited representatives are immigration specialists, but not lawyers. They work for organizations approved by the U.S. government to help you navigate the immigration process. These organizations might charge a fee for their services. To find an accredited representative near you, click here.


IMPORTANT NOTE: This page provides general information and should not be considered legal advice. Please be sure to speak to an attorney about your specific case.

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Border Report. (2022, September 6). Rumors continue to mislead migrants about asylum opportunities. Retrieved from https://tinyurl.com/zmx4hntw 

Federal Trade Commission. How to Avoid Immigration Scams and Get Real Help. https://consumer.ftc.gov/articles/how-avoid-immigration-scams-and-get-real-help#real%20help 

Tech Transparency Project. (2022, July 26). Inside the world of misinformation targeting migrants on social media. https://www.techtransparencyproject.org/articles/inside-world-misinformation-targeting-migrants-social-media

WDNT News. (2022, September 10). TikTok users targeting migrants with misinformation. Retrieved from https://www.wdtn.com/nexstar-media-wire/tiktok-users-targeting-migrants-with-misinformation/