Are you victim of immigration services fraud?
Contact the Sheriff’s Office
Immigration Services Fraud aka Notario Fraud
Santa Clara County has a very diverse population comprised of immigrant
families from various different nationalities. At some point, the
necessity to hire an immigration service provider for family members,
friends or themselves has or will arise.
Many people ask why immigration service provider fraud is called Notario
Fraud. Within the Latino communities unauthorized individuals
illegally practicing law are commonly known as NOTARIOS. These
individuals prey upon their relationship with the client and their
trust. NOTARIOS end up unlawfully providing immigration services,
causing the loss of money or damaging the immigration case beyond
repair. Thereby, the term “Notario Fraud” is now synonymous with
Immigration Services Fraud. Knowing the difference in immigration
service providers and their legal limitations is extremely important and
the first step in consumer protection.
The Sheriff's Office Notario Fraud Unit is passionate about protecting the community who seeks immigration service assistance. Check out the Notario Fraud Unit radio interview with KALW on fighting Notario Fraud.
Contact the Notario Fraud
Unit (408) 808-4599 or Tips@Sheriff.sccgov.org if you would
like additional information, if you believe you are a victim or if you would
like to arrange to have a Notario Fraud presentation given to your group.
The following sections
provide a short description of the most commonly encountered immigration
The Immigration Consultant Act (Business & Professions Code 22440-22449) outlines all applicable requirements and compliance regulations for
immigration consultants. The term “Immigration Consultant” is
deceiving as immigration consultants cannot provide legal advice and do
not receive any special training or certification to fill out immigration
Immigration consultants are ONLY FORM PREPARERS who must do
all of the following prior to engaging in the immigration consulting
- Have a $100,000 surety bond
- Submit to a criminal background check
- File a disclosure notice with the California Secretary of State
- Click here
to verify the immigration consultant’s registration. You will be
provided with a photo and bond information for the registered immigration
Remember: An Immigration Consultant is not an attorney, cannot provide
legal advice and is required by law to post a notice with that
NON-PROFIT IMMIGRATION SERVICE PROVIDERS
Some non profit agencies provide accredited representatives
recognized by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to assist with immigration
services at a nominal cost. These representatives must work with the
agency they receive their accreditation from. The immigration legal services referral list
contains information for non-profit Attorney and DOJ accredited agencies
that may be available to assist with immigration services.
to verify if an organization or individual is DOJ accredited.
Attorneys must attend law school and pass an exam to become a member of a
state bar association. Attorneys can provide legal advice, legal
services and/or legal representation. For California click here
to verify if a particular attorney is currently licensed and in good
A Notary Public in the United States is NOT
an attorney, but a person appointed by the state government to witness the
signing of important documents and administer oaths. California has
prohibited the use of the translated term “Notary.” Notary Publics
are not allowed to refer to themselves as “Notario,” or “Notario Publico.”
Notary’s cannot provide any legal advice, legal services or legal
representation in any immigration matter.
- Verify. Confirm your service provider is legitimate. Use the above
links for verification.
- Shop Around. Not all service providers are the same. Spend time
comparing different providers to obtain a qualified one that meets your
- Keep accurate records. Remember to keep track of dates and times services were rendered
and most importantly, ask for a contract. A contract must be
provided outlining the services and cost for those services.
- Receipts. Always ask for a signed receipt for any paid services.
Keep a copy of any payment made by either making a photocopy of the
check/money order or taking a quick photo with your cell phone for your
If you believe you are a victim of immigration service fraud, contact
the Sheriff’s Office at
408-808-4599 or Tips@Sheriff.sccgov.org