Advance Fee Fraud Targets Haitian Americans Trying To Bring Relatives To U.S.

According to the Haitian Embassy in Washington and the Greater Washington Haiti Relief Committee, Haitian Americans who hope to transport family members from the earthquake-ravished island should be cautious of an emerging scam.

The fraudulent scheme appears to offer Haitian Americans the documents they need to bypass the official government process for bringing family members from Haiti to the United States. Potential victims, who are reportedly handed fliers or reached by telephone, are told to wire $500 in exchange for the documents and a confirmation number that will allow them to fly to Haiti to extract five relatives.

The promised documents and flight in return for advance cash are entirely fraudulent. Haitian Americans seeking to relocate kin from the island and bring them to the U.S. should contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at (800) 375-5283 or online at www.uscis.gov.

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Greg Abbott
Attorney General of Texas

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ABOUT CONSUMER ALERTS - The Office of the Attorney General accepts consumer complaints about businesses. When a pattern of complaints warrants intervention, the Attorney General can file a civil lawsuit under consumer protection statutes, sometimes with the result that a company is required to pay restitution to consumers -- see our Major Lawsuits page. However, when a consumer is swindled by a con artist, filing a complaint cannot help. Civil litigation can sometimes put a very unscrupulous business out of action, but often cannot produce restitution.

Individual con artists generally fall under the jurisdiction of a criminal prosecutor -- in Texas, this is the district or county attorney. But even when they are charged and convicted, these individuals usually have spent the money as fast as they have stolen it. A person who is the victim of fraud should report the incident to the police or sheriff. But by far the best thing is for consumers to be aware of fraud, so they are not swindled in the first place. For this reason, the Office of the Attorney General posts these Consumer Alerts about possible scams and schemes that come to our attention through citizen contacts to our office or other sources.

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