A woman from Berlin Googled for US citizenship application info and thought the site she landed on was an all-in-one place for taking care of all her forms. She forked over $680, and what she got back were forms she could have gotten from the government for free.
“I thought I was going to take my picture and my green card and I’m all set with that,” she told the Hartford Courant. “However, seven days later I received instructions in the mail on how to fill out the application. They said I filled out everything correctly [online] and this is what I need to do. That is what they charged me $680 for. I was so mad.”
The woman tried to get her money back but all her emails and calls went unanswered. After she filed a complaint with the BBB, the site did call her, to tell her it wasn’t their fault.
“They said they weren’t responsible. They claimed someone hacked into their website or used their system, so they were not reimbursing me,” she told the Hartford Courant.
Now her visa application is on hold because she has to wait and save up $680 more to pay the real processing fee.
These types of scams prey on foreigners who are unfamiliar with how the American immigration process works. They also prey on people who just click on the first link without scoping out the site fully first. Buried at the bottom of the site that bilked the Berliner is a disclaimer that says it’s not associated with the US Government and only offers “self-help” services.
For the right info on how to apply, as well as immigration scams to watch out for, visit uscis.gov/avoidscams.
Berlin Woman Pays $680 For Free Government Form [Hartford Courant]