LA DA Jackie Lacey believes that as changes in immigration policy take center stage, people seeking assistance should beware of fake attorneys and “notarios.”
She warned of Immigration scammers advertising in store windows, social media, radio and other outlets and using recent news headlines about executive orders and proposed changes in immigration law to create fear and then step in to offer a bogus solution.
They sometimes charge for government forms which are free, claim to have a special relationship with immigration officials or charge a lot of money to knowingly apply for benefits for which the victim is ineligible.
People seeking help with their immigration status can end up losing sizeable sums of money, or even worse, hurting their chances of obtaining legal status.
The DA's website suggest the following TIPS:
- If an attorney claims to be licensed in California, confirm his or her status by calling the State Bar of California’s immigration hotline at 866-879-4532
- In California, it is illegal for a person to self-identify as a “notario,” if they are not a licensed attorney
- Visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ website at https://www.uscis.gov/avoid-scams/find-legal-services to find free or low-cost legal assistance