Immigration/Notario Scams

The Nevada Attorney General’s Office warns Nevadans to be on alert for immigration/notario scams. Before engaging anyone for legal assistance, you should do your research by using a number of free resources to make sure the person is properly licensed. Don’t be fooled by a notaries, paralegals, or document preparers, who claim they can provide legal help. While Notaries Public may perform duties of attorneys in Spanish-speaking countries, those in the United States cannot practice law, give legal advice, or accept fees for legal advice. Only an attorney can provide legal advice and represent you in court. An attorney must have a law degree and pass a test prior to being licensed. You may confirm that the person claiming to be an attorney is licensed by visiting the State Bar of Nevada’s website at http://nvbar.org or by calling 1-800-254-2797.

Additionally, be aware of some other signs that a person offering legal assistance may be offering fraudulent services:

  • No one can guarantee you will be approved for specific benefits.
  • Only you, an attorney, or a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) representative can represent you before USCIS and inquire about the status of your request.
  • An immigration service provider that does not employ attorneys may not give you legal advice, threaten to report you to immigration authorities, promise to obtain special favors from immigration authorities, instruct you to provide false information to immigration authorities, or charge you for a referral to someone qualified to assist you with immigration matters.
  • If you do go to an immigration service provider to have your paperwork filled out, the provider must do the following:
    1. give you a contract (which may be cancelled at any time) written in English and in a language you understand describing the services they will provide and the fees they will charge;
    2. post signs clearly indicating they are not attorneys and cannot give you legal advice;
    3. give you a copy of any documents filed with the government;
    4. return any original documents belonging to you;
    5. and give you a copy of your file on demand without a fee.
     

To determine if a business is a registered document preparation service with the Secretary of State’s office, search the database.  (Insert: http://nvsos.gov/index.aspx?page=23&recordid=1769)

  • Remember that just because someone may be of your same race/ethnicity and/or speaks your language does not necessarily mean they have your best interest at heart. Scammers exploit the trust and friendship that exist in groups of people who have something in common.

For additional tips from the State Bar of Nevada and the Las Vegas Latino Bar, please click here.

If you are victim of an immigration services scam, report it the following agencies Federal Trade Commision, State Bar of Nevada , and the Nevada Attorney General's Office

Individuals who misuse or are suspected of misusing the term “notario” should be reported to the Secretary of State’s office at 1-800-450-8594 (press option 6 to reach the document preparation services division). Reporting scams will not affect your immigration application or petition.

 

Page Last Updated:8/21/2015