By Natalie Zarowny
Scammers are targeting Quad City immigrants.
Some immigrants in the Quad Cities and around the country who are trying to get citizenship or apply for programs like deferred action, are getting ripped off by posers.
"I didn't get the money back," said one Quad City woman who didn't want to be identified. She was scammed out of thousands.
"I went to someone who wanted to pass as a lawyer, and, they charged me three thousand dollars and they didn't fix anything, and they weren't a lawyer," she said.
Dolores Tapia, an attorney working for non-profit Casa Guanajuato, says some Hispanic, Spanish speaking people are claiming they can give legal advice. And through word of mouth, their name is passed around.
"Someone recommended her to me," said the Quad City woman.
Often these people worked under an attorney at some point.
But if you're not accredited, giving legal advice, and especially charging for it, is illegal.
"They do know that it's illegal, that they're not supposed to be giving, doing this kind of work and charging for it," said Tapia.
So how can folks avoid being scammed?
"The bottom line is, if a person cannot show you a license as an attorney or a B.A. accreditation license, don't trust the advice they are giving you," said Tapia.
It's too late for the unidentified Quad City woman, but she wanted to share her story, to keep others from becoming a victim
"I don't want it to happen, that other people go and pay money for someone who isn't going to help them," she said.
The best place for immigrants to find an affordable and real attorney is at a non–profit.
Casa Guanajuato offers services, and so does the Diocese of Davenport.