Scammers targeting people worried about deportation, Colorado attorney general warns

DENVER -- Every community is faced with the threat of a scam. On Monday, Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman outlined her concern that the Hispanic community is especially vulnerable.

Coffman was joined by acting U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer and Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett for a news conference Tuesday to discuss the rise in scams targeting communities vulnerable to deportation.

"They are targeting our vulnerable populations, members of our immigrant communities in need of these services," Coffman said.

Some of the common tactics include posted flyers that advertise themselves as "immigration specialists" or "notarios," a word that carries with it a great deal of respect in Central and South America.

Many of the scammers would offer appointment times for services such as driver's licences or to help with immigration paperwork.

Christine Zaldivar told her story of making the mistake of using an "immigration specialist" to fill out her husband's I-130 immigration paperwork. The errors that resulted put him at risk for deportation.

"I have been a victim for many years," Zaldivar said. "We decided to hire him because he was cheap -- $980 versus $1,500 seemed like a much better deal for our family."

The major issue is many of the scammers are not being prosecuted because victims are afraid to come forward, for fear of deportation.

"ICE is within the Department of Homeland Security which is different than the Department of Justice," Troyer said, emphasing the need to come forward.

Anyone who thinks they are a victim is asked to file a report over the phone or online. Spanish operators are available at 800-222-4444.