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USCIS expands crackdown on fraudulent 'notarios' nationwide

The federal government has announced it has begun its crackdown on immigration scams nationwide. In March, this blog reported that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services was planning a crackdown on individuals that act as fake immigration attorneys. The agency began a pilot program involving seven cities earlier this year. Officials announced last week that the pilot program will now be expanded nationwide. Miami immigration attorneys are aware that immigration services scams can prove costly for those taken in by the fraud, and when a scam fails to deliver on its promises, can leave an immigrant steered into the wrong direction.

Federal officials say that scams involving immigration services have become sophisticated and even go so far as to advertise online through websites intended to look like official government websites, according to a story in Fox News Latino. An official with the Federal Trade Commission says some immigration scams involve "people in the neighborhoods: people who know people, people who are out there shaking hands."

The current campaign intends to educate both legal and undocumented immigrants about the existence of unlicensed service providers and websites that offer potentially fraudulent immigration services for a fee. The fraudulent scams often involve unlicensed people who offer legal services for a fee, and then fail to deliver on their promises.

One of the difficulties officials have discovered in rooting out the scams is that many victims do not file complaints about the scam after being taken in, due to fear of deportation. In some areas of the country, fraudulent "notarios" prey on immigrants who are seeking immigration services.

Undocumented and legal immigrants seeking immigration services should consider speaking with an experienced--and licensed--Florida immigration attorney for advice on immigration issues.

Source: Fox News Latino, "US Government Cracks Down on Immigration Scams," Dec. 3, 2011

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