Recent global events forced business closures and the cancellation of many important services. It also resulted in the freeze of some immigration programs to reduce the number of people entering the country. The U.S. government recently lifted temporary suspensions on visas for certain skilled workers. However, this renewed opportunity for obtaining a visa also brings new opportunity for scams against vulnerable applicants.
Scammers are very clever, and it is often difficult for applicants to know when they are not dealing with an official representative of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. One scam involves emails applicants receive that resemble official USCIS documents, asking for an applicant’s vital information and a copy of their passports. Then the applicant becomes a victim of identity theft. To avoid such scams, those seeking immigration services should do the following:
- Submitting all applications and personal information only through official government websites that end in “.gov”
- Not being fooled by websites that have patriotic images or other graphics that resemble the U.S. Department of State or USCIS
- Knowing the deadlines during which the government holds registration for certain programs and the processes they follow
Applicants should also be suspicious of anyone who offers to improve their chances of getting a visa by adding false information to their application. The government suggests obtaining assistance only from those who are reputable and whose methods are trustworthy. By following these tips, applicants for U.S. visas may avoid the serious consequences of getting caught in a scammer’s web.