Con artists targeting immigrants are resurfacing yet again as President Donald Trump is clamping down on his policy to tighten up the country’s borders.
The L.A. County District Attorney’s Office issued a warning on Feb. 13 to immigrants who may have been approached by those who claim to be lawyers or notaries who can help them to obtain legal status to reside in the United States.
More immigrants have been exploited in recent weeks as conmen are abusing their need of a legal status by framing them into spending money for the false services.
The so-called “immigration conmen” are playing up President Trump’s executive order to reject entrance of citizens from seven mostly Muslim countries to strike fear into immigrants in the U.S., according to the county prosecutors. They are reportedly using the desperation of the undocumented immigrants to simply take their money by promising that they will provide the services to grant them lawful residence.
“The immigration conmen pretend to be reputable lawyers or notaries by advertising themselves through various media channels,” a prosecutor said. “They first offer free counseling and then talk the ‘clients’ into forking out cash.”
The prosecutors have picked out four different types of those conmen. There are the ones who guarantees obtainment of legal status by saying that they have “connection” to people who work for the immigration department. There are also those who advise the clients to provide false information in their immigration paperwork. Then, there are the conmen who disguise as notaries, consultants or lawyers without having the legal grounds to do so as well as the ones who offer “express” service to provide legal status.
The county prosecutors advised that anyone who is familiar with a similar case is encouraged to call (800) 593-8222. Callers will not be asked to provide their immigration status.
Meanwhile, those contacted by someone who claims to be a lawyer can confirm by calling immigration fraud hotline at (866) 879-4532.
By Hyoung Jae Kim