Luminus Warns Against Notario Fraud in Immigration

Immigration is a complex and important issue that affects many people around the world. When people try to move to the United States, they often need help with the complicated laws and rules. But there’s a problem called “notario fraud” that takes advantage of people looking for help.

What is Notario Fraud?

Notario fraud happens when someone pretends to be a legal expert, like a lawyer, but they’re not. They trick people who want to move to the United States, especially those who don’t speak English well or come from places where notario means something different. In the United States, a notary public can’t give legal advice; they can only watch you sign documents.

Notario fraud can hurt immigrants in many ways especially because one of the top priorities of our immigration is to figure out if someone is lying to them—the credibility of an immigrant is always on the forefront whether before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or an immigration judge. A fraudulent notario might fill out forms wrong, miss important deadlines, or even file false information without an immigrant knowing it. They may promise a work permit by having an immigrant sign blank forms then they put whatever they choose in the forms. Many times, they may change phone numbers, addresses, or disappear completely. This can cause big problems, like losing the chance to live in the United States legally, being barred from seeking immigration relief for years or forever, being sent back to home country, or getting into legal trouble. Plus, immigrants can lose a lot of money paying for fake legal help.

How to Keep Yourself Safe

• Check Credentials: Make sure anyone giving legal advice is really a lawyer and has the right to practice law. You can check with the state bar association. Search for a Maryland barred attorney here. Note that an attorney can be barred in any U.S. state or territory to practice immigration law.

• Know What Notaries Do: In the United States, notaries can’t give legal help for immigration. Notarios sometimes identify as immigration specialists, consultants, or experts.

• Find Good Help: Look for real lawyers or trusted organizations that know about immigration law.

• Report Scams: If you think you’ve been tricked by notario fraud, tell the authorities, like the Maryland Attorney General’s office, American Bar Association, or visit Stop Notario Fraud (page available in multiple languages).

• Learn About Immigration: Understand the process and your rights. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has free information and forms on their website.

Notario fraud is a big problem that can ruin people’s chances of living in the United States. By being careful, checking who you’re working with, and getting help from the right places, you can avoid scams and work towards your dream of a new life in the United States safely.

The Maryland Attorney General can be reached at 410-528-8662, 1-888-743-0023. Maryland Attorney General brochure.