In her complaint, Lejla Radoncic, says she thought the $680 she paid to www.usaimmigrationsupport.com would cover the cost of her citizenship application. However, in her complaint to BBB, she says she discovered the company was charging her “to print out the application,”
Ms. Radoncic is seeking a refund from the company because “The service that they offer for $680.00 is absolutely free on the government website.”
Consumers have filed more than 45 complaints since January against US Immigration Organization, the company that operates www.usaimmigrationsupport.com.
Consumers allege the business misrepresented itself as a government entity. The Chicago-based firm has an “F” rating with Better Business Bureau, the lowest possible letter grade, because it has failed to respond to or resolve several complaints. The firm also does business as United States Immigration Organization, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services and USA Immigration Support.
Half of the complaints against the company allege it misrepresented itself as a government entity.
More than 170 complaints from consumers across the nation have been filed with BBB this year against various companies claiming they can help immigrants with citizenship matters.
Connecticut Better Business Bureau President, Paulette Scarpetti, says immigrants are being cheated out of their money.
“Consumers seeking citizenship should not have to pay a third party for documents that are available free of charge from the federal government.”
The required application forms are available from the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services website, at http://www.uscis.gov.
Consumers have spent anywhere from $75 to hundreds of dollars on private immigration services, with the belief they were receiving official assistance with their passport, visa, and naturalization applications.
Connecticut BBB urges consumers to carefully read all disclaimers on such websites and obtain help in understanding terms and processes if language is a barrier. This is particularly important when seeking assistance using government programs and divulging personal information.
There are operations whose intent is to deceive consumers about their services, and at the same time, gain access to information about their identities, including checking and credit card account numbers.
In the wake of similar activities around the country, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has created multi-lingual educational materials for consumers. These tools can help educate the public about how to avoid immigration scams, provide the means to file FTC complaints and report suspected scams or fraud.
BBB offers tips to individuals looking to obtain legal status in the U.S. to avoid getting scammed:
•Never sign blank documents; they may contain inaccurate or deceptive information
•Always retain your original documents and only provide photocopies if necessary
•Do not make online payments or send money to someone who is not a licensed attorney
•Make copies for your own records of every document you prepare and submit
•Request a receipt as proof of payment
•Check the Connecticut Bar Association for licensed attorneys who provide immigration services online at https://www.ctbar.org or by telephone at (860) 223-4400
•Verify immigration services and professionals at http://www.bbb.org
•More information is available from the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services website, at http://www.uscis.gov, or by telephone at (800)-375-5283
For more advice on fighting fraud and finding businesses and organizations you can trust, visit http://www.bbb.org
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Founded in 1928, Connecticut BBB is an unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. For more advice on finding companies and businesses, start your search with trust at www.bbb.org.