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Immigrant Visa Advance Fee Scams Target Haitians and Haitian-Americans

According to press releases from the Office of the Texas Attorney General and from the U.S. Embassy in Haiti, reports of a scam targeting Haitians attempting to bring family members from Haiti to the U.S. have emerged.

The U.S. Embassy in Haiti reports on its website that the scammers are posing as workers for the U.S. Consulate. The scammers contact persons who might wish to move family members from Haiti and request advance payment of fees using a wire transfer service such as Western Union, SogeXpress or CAM. The scammers are careful to make the fraud sound legitimate and even provide call-back numbers to verify the information. According to the Texas AG's office, scammers also hand out fliers to reach potential victims. The victims are asked to provide at least $500 in fees in exchange for documents that will allow them to by-pass the usual government process and bring five family members to the U.S.

The Embassy site warns that embassy and consulate employees are never permitted to contact potential applicants for immigrant visas and payment for immigrant visa application fees should never be made to any entity other than the National Visa Center in the U.S., or at the official cashier inside the Consulate at the time of interview. Potential applicants are reminded never to wire money to unknown persons.

The Embassy asks that if you have been contacted about one of the advance payment scams, or know of someone who has, please contact the Consulate at 222-0200, x8684 or via email to PAPrso@state.gov or PAPfraud@state.gov. If you would like to relocate family members from Haiti to the U.S., contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at (800) 375-5283 or online at www.uscis.gov.

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