Immigration Scam Alert

Para leer éste información en Español haz click aquíThis California Department of Justice website can also be translated to Español.

The California Department of Justice issued a consumer alert on immigration scams. It offers the following tips for avoiding such scams:

  • Do not hire a notary or an immigration consultant if you are seeking advice and assistance regarding your immigration status. Notaries and immigration consultants are not attorneys or experts in immigration. In fact, they are not legally required to know anything about immigration law because they are only allowed to help you with non-legal tasks, like translating information.
  • Do not hire an immigration attorney until you confirm that the person is licensed to practice law. Notaries and immigration consultants may fraudulently pretend to be immigration attorneys.
  • Do not pay for immigration forms. Such forms can be requested for free by calling U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at (800) 870-3676, or by visiting
  • Get immigration information from dot-gov (.gov) websites that are affiliated with the government.
  • Do not pay for immigration services until you request and read a paper copy of your contract. If you are not fluent in English, you have the right to review a translated copy of your contract before you sign it. The contract should set out the services that will be provided, as well as the amount that you will be charged.
  • Be careful about giving your original documents to anyone because the person you give them to may illegally refuse to return them unless you pay them money.
  • Do not sign an immigration form that includes incorrect information or blanks.
  • Do not give money or any personal information to people who call on the telephone, claiming that there is a problem with your immigration status.
  • Keep copies of all documents associated with your immigration status, including copies of the immigration documents that are filed and correspondence from the government regarding your immigration status.

Some common scams include:

  • Making false promises or implying special influence with the USCIS. The truth is, nobody can guarantee you a work permit or any other immigration benefit.
  • Threatening arrest, fines, or deportation unless you pay money or reveal personal information.
  • Posing as an immigration consultant or lawyer when he/she is not qualified to do so.
  • Taking your money and not delivering any services
  • Persuading you to lie on an application or to an USCIS agent.
  • Keeping your original documents and charging money to get them back.
  • Filing applications that will not be approved, like filing an application for political asylum if you don’t qualify for asylum.
  • Charging you a total price for all services up front, then demanding more and more money to continue doing work.


What to do if you are the victim of an immigration scam:

If you are the victim of an immigration scam, you are encouraged to do the following:

Complaint forms are available in English, Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese.

When you provide information regarding your experience with immigration scams, the Attorney General is better informed and positioned to investigate and prosecute immigration fraud. You may also call (800) 952-5225 or send a letter to the following address:

California Department of Justice

Public Inquiry Unit

P.O. Box 944255

Sacramento, CA 94244-2550


For questions or information about DACA, click on the following links:

California Department of Justice, Office of Immigrant Assistance

Immigration Services Contractors

National Immigration Law Center


*The information provided above is not a substitute for legal advice and is provided for informational purposes only. Consult a licensed attorney if you need immigration help.