Avoid Fraud

Immigration law is complicated. You can find a trustworthy, qualified immigration attorney to help you with your immigration matters. ActionNYC offers free legal screening for all immigrants in New York City. This free screening can connect you to a qualified immigration lawyer and can help you avoid fraud.

Schedule an ActionNYC legal screening or call 311 and say "ActionNYC."

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Anyone who is not a lawyer may not provide legal help. Only lawyers or someone who has gotten permission from the Department of Justice can give legal advice or tell you what you qualify for.

Many notario publicos, immigration "brokers," and immigration "consultants" are not lawyers and cannot give you legal advice.

Non-lawyers should only:

  • Translate and notarize your documents;
  • Help you obtain documents for applications;
  • Help you get medical tests or take your photo for immigration applications; and
  • Give you English language or citizenship classes.

If you want to report fraud, call the New York State Office of New Americans hotline. Help is available in over 200 languages. Call (800) 566-7636.

Avoiding the Latest Scam Targeting Chinese Americans

Scammers are calling and leaving voicemails in Mandarin, from numbers appearing to originate from mainland China, claiming to be from the Chinese Embassy, Chinese Consulates, or from Chinese law enforcement agencies. These callers request that you pick up a package or, alternatively, provide personal financial information, such as bank account or credit card information, to avoid issues with your legal status, or to avoid arrest the next time you travel to China. Scammers are reportedly targeting Chinese immigrants or people with Chinese last names. 

The incoming phone number for these scams is often similar to the recipient's own number or to the Chinese Embassy's real number, (212) 244-XXXX. The scammers are also using email and WeChat in their attempts to defraud people.

If you think you’ve been scammed, call 311 and ask to connect with your local police precinct to file a police report. The NYPD does not ask about the immigration status of crime victims, witnesses, or other people who ask for help. Services are available in Chinese and other languages.

Resources for this scam:

Avoiding the Latest Scam Targeting Chinese Americans Handout [PDF – English]

避免针对美籍华人的新型电话诈骗 [PDF - Chinese]

Evitar las Últimas Estafas Telefónicas Dirigidas a los Chinos Americanos [PDF – Spanish]

Additional Resources:

  • NYS Office of the Attorney General – Beware! Target List of Names (these individuals are prohibited from providing any immigration related service to the public)
  • New York State Office for New Americans – **New Americans Hotline:** Report immigration assistance fraud and schemes against immigrants at (800) 566-7636