How to spot immigration fraud and protect yourself: the recommendations of the USCIS

Service citizenship and immigration States on its official website gives several examples of the most common types of immigration fraud. Learn how to identify them and protect yourself from scams and what to do if you become a victim of fraud.

Как распознать иммиграционное мошенничество и защитить себя: рекомендации USCIS

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Form I-9 and fraud email

Employers may receive a fraudulent email asking you to provide information from form I-9 — letter decorated like it’s from USCIS. In fact, employers are not required to file a Form I-9 USCIS. The employer must have a form I-9, “Confirmation of the right to employment” (Employment Eligibility Verification) for each employee who is required to fill it. All of these forms must be kept for a certain period of time. Visit I-9 to learn more about storage and checks of this form.

The fraudulent emails come from fake e-mail addresses: This is not the email address of USCIS. In the body of the email may contain logos USCIS and the Office of the inspector General, your address and a download button that refers to fake non-government web address ( Do not reply to these emails and do not click on links in them.

If you believe you have received a fraudulent email request for data form I-9 from USCIS, notify the Federal trade Commission. If you are not sure that it is a Scam, forward the suspicious email to the webmaster USCIS. The immigration service will review the received e-mail and if necessary refer them to law enforcement.

Payments by phone or email

USCIS will never ask you to transfer money to an individual. The service will not accept money 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 a physical person by phone or email. You can pay some immigration fees online, but only through an online account with USCIS and

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

Winning the visa lottery

USCIS does not control visa lottery program, known as a lottery green card (DV). This program is managed by the U.S. Department of State.

Visit the Department of state’s website to learn more about the program, requirements for participation and how to notify selected individuals.

A lot of useful information you’ll find in the ForumDaily materials on this topic.

Remember that the DV program. Important: the state Department will never send you email that you have won a green card, you can check this only on their own initiative.

Fraudulent sites

On some web sites claimed that they are affiliated with USCIS, and offers step-by-step guide to filling out the application or petition with USCIS. Make sure that your information received from or is associated with Make sure the website address ends in .gov.

Remember that the USCIS will never ask you to pay for the download of forms — all of them are available for free 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 work from abroad, or by e-mail. If you receive a suspicious job offer email before he left his country and came to the United States, it may be a Scam, especially if you are asked to pay money for such a document (job offer).

Even if a job offer is legitimate, you are not allowed to work in the United States, if you do not have a permanent resident card (green card), document on work permits or visas related to employment that allows you to work for a particular employer. The details on the page dedicated to employment in the United States.

If you are already in the United States on a student visa, talk to an adviser for foreign students (designated official of the institution) in your University before you start work. If you’re going to get a higher education and apply for optional practical training (OPT), read the instructions on the page dedicated to employment in the United States.

Fraud-oriented students

If you are a foreign student and want to come to the US for education, make sure that you are applying to an accredited College or University. Find your school on the web page of the Council for higher education.

You must have form I-20, Certificate of eligibility for nonimmigrant student (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status) to arrive in the United States. After you enroll in the University, a certified program for students and exchange (SEVP), a designated school staff member will give you one of two documents:

  • The form I-20, Certificate of eligibility for nonimmigrant student (F-1) — for academic and language students; or
  • The form I-20, Certificate of eligibility for nonimmigrant student (M-1) — for students of vocational training.

Unaccredited educational institutions are not able to sponsor your student visa F-1.

Additional information about the form I-20 can be found on the website of the DHS or on the website of the USCIS page, “Students and employment”.

Money for communication with the government

Sometimes companies and websites pretend to be experts on immigration or say they have a special relationship with the government. They may also “guarantee” that you will be able to obtain a visa, a green card or work permit, if you pay the fee. Remember that USCIS does not have exceptions to the normal processing time, and no one can get these services faster than lasts usual process. Check the processing time of business online.

What to do if you become a victim of immigration fraud

Fraud can and should be reported to the Federal trade Commission. On the USCIS page, you can find the coordinates on which you will be able to report a Scam, and provides laws to protect you as a consumer.

Remember that reporting fraud will not affect your immigration application or petition. In addition, many States allow you to anonymously report fraud. Your initiative can help to stop intruders.


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