Immigration scam awareness campaign goes national

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Federal immigration officials are expanding nationally a program to raise awareness about immigration services scams.

Officials from several federal, state and local agencies discussed the plan in Newark, N.J., on Thursday.

The campaign is aimed at educating legal and illegal immigrants to avoid everything from unlicensed service providers to websites that mimic those of government agencies. Most scams involve people who pretend to be able to provide legal aid or other services for immigrants.

Ads, posters and leaflets will be published in English and Spanish. There also will be a website with information available in 12 additional languages.

Federal officials say immigration fraud is increasing in frequency and complexity.

The campaign started as a pilot program in Atlanta, Baltimore, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York City, San Antonio, and Fresno, Calif.