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TPS applicants beware: Lawyers and experts share scams, red flags to know

Volunteer attorneys line up outside the City Bar building before the start of a TPS clinic for Haitian nationals. Photo from New York City Bar.

Imagine, one day, your phone rings and the caller says they are calling from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). They say something is wrong with your Temporary Protective Status application, and that you are at risk of deportation. 

To fix it, they give you an ultimatum: Send them thousands of dollars or the filing errors remain on your record. You deplete your savings out of desperation. Yet as the weeks go by, you don’t hear anything.

This telemarketing scam is all too common in immigrant communities. It is just one of nearly a dozen different fraudulent schemes USCIS and immigrant advocates have warned about since the renewed designation of Haiti for TPS was announced earlier this year. Lawyers have said reports of TPS scams are rare, but many experts said this is likely due to such scams being underreported. 

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