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Talk to an attorney: Don't fall victim to immigration con artists

This is an anxious time period for a lot of immigrants, whether they are undocumented or here on a valid visa. It's also a time that's full of opportunities for those willing to prey on the anxieties of others -- which is why immigration-related scams are suddenly thriving.

It's difficult for law enforcement to keep up on the number of scams or how fast they spread, in large part because the victims are already anxious about their immigration status and reluctant to step forward. However, there are several known scams already making their way across the nation:

-- Men posing as Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, complete with jackets emblazoned with the word "ICE" on them, have approached immigrants in public and demanded payoffs in cash. They threaten to take the immigrants into immediate custody otherwise.

-- Text messages that appear to come from ICE are notifying people that they need to pay additional fees to stay in the United States.

-- Callers using numbers that appear to be government lines on caller ID inform immigrants that they need to pay a fee to fix something that's wrong with their visas in order to avoid being in the United States illegally.

-- Callers identifying themselves as members of ICE will threaten to raid an immigrant's home, searching for undocumented friends or relatives, unless the caller pays them a fee.

-- Individuals posing as immigration attorneys approach immigrants through Facebook and phone messages, informing them that they have an open immigration case and then demand money for help with their taxes and visa.

-- Individuals posing as immigration officers will offer, for a price, to help immigrants get documents or bring relatives into the country.

It's important to understand that even in times of uncertainty that you need to keep calm. An actual ICE agent won't threaten to do something unless you pay him or her off. Nor will an actual attorney reach out to inform you of a pending immigration case and then pressure you into paying for their services.

If you receive a phone call, a message, or another threatening communication, contact an actual immigration attorney of your choosing if you have questions or think you may need help. If you'd like to know more about our services, please visit our page.

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