SCAM ALERT: DACA recipients targeted by scammers

Emotions are heightened for young immigrants in our country following President Donald Trump's announcement to end DACA programs.

Since the announcement came in early September, those eligible are working to renew their permits before the October 5 deadline.

While that's one challenge, the Better Business Bureau is now warning more than 27,000 DACA recipients in our state to also be on the lookout for scammers.

“With such a high number of DACA recipients in North Carolina, it is important for those affected by this decision to take the proper precautions when seeking legal advice,” said Mallory Wojciechowski, president and CEO of BBB. “Scammers will be looking to take advantage of the high emotions attached to this situation and capitalize monetarily as much as they can.”

The BBB says scammers are pretending to be legal experts, charging recipients for free paperwork or threatening to deport them unless they wire tens of thousands of dollars.

While the BBB cannot provide any legal advice, they are offering tips to avoid falling victim:

-Be wary of email, social media messages, phone calls, or other unsolicited sales pitches for legal services, especially if they use scare tactics to frighten you into action.
-Don’t provide confidential information over the phone or via email.
-Never pay for blank government forms. Government forms are free, although you may have to pay a fee when you submit them.
-Be cautious when researching immigration information online. Some scammers set up websites that look like government websites. Look for a .gov domain.
-Don’t let anyone keep your original documents (birth certificate, passport, etc.). Scammers may charge you to get them back.
-Never sign a document you don’t understand, or sign any form that has not been completely filled out.
-Keep a copy of every form you submit, as well as every letter you receive from a government agency.
-Don’t wire money to anyone you don’t know. Once you send it, you cannot get it back. Government agencies usually ask for funds by check or money order, or by a secure transaction on a government (.gov) website.

The BBB says it's best to look for legal assistance on your own, rather than wait for someone to reach out to you.

You can find additional resources here.