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How to Recognize Immigration Fraud and Protect Yourself: USCIS Recommendations

US Citizenship and Immigration Services at its the official website provides several examples of the most common types of immigration fraud. Learn how to identify them and protect yourself from scammers, as well as what to do if you become a victim of scammers.

Photo: Shutterstock

Form I-9 and Email Fraud

Employers may receive fraudulent emails asking them to provide information from Form I-9 - the letter is designed as if it came from USCIS. In fact, employers are not required to submit Form I-9 to USCIS. The employer must have Form I-9 “Employment Eligibility Verification” for each employee who needs to fill out it. All these forms must be kept for a certain time. Visit Center I-9to learn more about storing and validating this form.

Fraudulent emails come from a fake email address: news@uscis.org. It is not a USCIS email address. The body of the letter may contain the logos of the USCIS and the Office of the Inspector General, your address and a download button that links to a fake non-state web address (uscis-online.org). Do not reply to these letters and do not follow the links in them.

If you think you have received a fraudulent email requesting USCIS form I-9 data, please report it to Federal Trade Commission. If you are not sure if this is a fraud, forward a suspicious email USCIS Webmaster. The Immigration Service will review the emails received and, if necessary, forward them to law enforcement.

Payments by Phone or Email

USCIS will never ask you to transfer money to an individual. The service does not accept transfers through Western Union, MoneyGram, PayPal or gift cards as payment for immigration fees. In addition, the agency will never ask you to pay for services to an individual by phone or e-mail. You can pay some immigration fees online, but only through USCIS online account and Pay.gov.

You can find out more on the page. about payment for USCIS services.

On the subject: The 6 most common scam schemes in the US: how to protect yourself

Winning the Visa Lottery

USCIS does not operate the Visa Lottery Program, known as the Green Card Lottery (DV). This program is managed by the US Department of State.

Visit Department of State websiteto learn more about the program, eligibility requirements, and how selected individuals are notified.

You will find a lot of useful information in ForumDaily on this topic.

Remember that DV is free. Important: The Department of State never will not send you an email that you won the green card, you can check this only on your own initiative.

Fraud Sites

Some Web sites claim to be affiliated with USCIS and offer step-by-step guidance on how to complete a USCIS application or petition. Make sure your information is from uscis.gov or related to uscis.gov. Make sure the site address ends with .gov.

Remember that USCIS will never ask you to pay for the download of forms - they are provided free of charge on the official website. You can also get forms at your local USCIS office. To order forms by mail, follow these instructions.

Job offers

Beware of companies offering jobs from abroad via email. If you received a suspicious job offer by e-mail before you left your country and came to the USA, this can be fraud, especially if you are asked to pay money for such a document (job offer).

Even if the job offer is legal, you are not allowed to work in the United States unless you have a permanent resident card (green card), a work permit document, or an employment visa that allows you to work with a particular employer. Details on US Employment Page.

If you are already in the United States on a student visa, speak with a student adviser (designated school official) at your university before starting work. If you intend to graduate and apply for further practical training (OPT), read the instructions on US Employment Page.

On the subject: In the United States, a new type of fraud associated with COVID-19: how to protect yourself

Student-oriented fraud

If you are a foreign student and want to come to the United States to study, be sure to apply to an accredited college or university. Find your school on the web page Council for Higher Education.

You must have Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status, to come to the United States. After you are enrolled in college, Certified Student and Exchange Program (SEVP), the designated school staff member will give you one of two documents:

  • Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Non-Immigration Status for Students (F-1) - for academic and language students; or
  • Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Non-Immigration Status for Students (M-1) - for vocational students.

Unaccredited educational institutions cannot sponsor your student F-1 visa.

Further information on Form I-20 can be found on the DHS website. studyinthestates.dhs.gov or on the USCIS website at “Students and employment”.

Money for Government Relations

Sometimes companies and websites pretend to be immigration experts or say they have special ties to the government. They can also “guarantee” that you will be able to get a visa, green card or work permit faster if you pay a fee. Remember that USCIS has no exceptions to normal processing times, and no one can get these services faster than the normal process. Check case processing time online.

What to do if you become a victim of immigration fraud

Fraud can and should be reported to Federal Trade Commission. On USCIS page There are coordinates by which you can declare scammers, as well as laws on protecting you as a consumer.

Remember that a fraud report will not affect your immigration application or petition. In addition, many states allow anonymous reporting of fraud. Your initiative will help stop intruders.

fraud Educational program immigration Service USCIS Immigration in the USA

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