The office of homeland security recently extended the registration deadline for Venezuelans applying for temporary protected status (TPS) from 180 days to 18 months. As of now, the final day to file for TPS is September 9, 2022.
Unfortunately, while many are fleeing political instability and are looking for a better life in the New York and New Jersey area, other less-than-honest individuals are trying to make money by scamming unsuspecting immigrants.
What do immigration scams look like?
As with all scams, scammers want to get you to act the fastest on the least amount of information possible. Scammers will often contact you about an urgent or important matter, and make it seem like there is very little time to act. Because the deadline has been extended until well into next year, time is generally not an issue to worry about.
Scammers will also attempt to seem as legitimate as possible. They may claim to have credentials or will offer information that seems credible upfront. They may be contacting you posing as a member of a federal agency, a law firm or another entity that has an interest in your immigration status. If you receive a suspicious phone call, you can always hang up and call a trusted number for a government agency or law firm to continue the conversation.
Scammers will try to get you to send them personally identifiable information or money. They may claim they know how to fill out TPS forms or can otherwise expedite the process. Be wary of any entity calling you and asking for these things.
How to avoid scams
Generally, be cautious with your official communication. Check the domain for emails you receive and make sure they correspond with emails you have received in the past. The federal government has created a website for resources on avoiding and reporting immigration scams. If all else fails, you can always call into the agency or a law firm with a trusted number to inquire about official matters.