Skip to main content

Now and then, it’s helpful to remind ourselves of things we already know: Nobody legit will ever demand payment with a gift card. Dark chocolate is superior to milk chocolate. And notarios do not give legal help with immigration.

If you, or someone you know, is trying to sort out immigration issues, go straight to an immigration lawyer and skip the notarios. They’re not lawyers, and cannot help with immigration. Instead, time after time, we see stories of notarios who take people’s money and documents, make big promises, and then do nothing. Often, they hurt your chances of immigrating lawfully while they disappear with your papers and cash.

How Pedro and Miriam Learned About Notario Fraud is a graphic novel that shows some of the ways people get scammed while seeking immigration help. It also shows where people can go for real help. You can also read the fotonovela in Spanish here – and order free copies to share in your community.

One lesson from Pedro and Miriam is this: there are lawyers and people known as “accredited representatives” who can give real help with immigration. (You can find them at this Department of Justice site.)  But none of them are notarios. Please spread the word.

If you spot a scammer pretending to be able to help with immigration – or if you spot a Diversity Visa scam, also known as Green Card Lottery scam – please tell us at You can report these scammers anonymously, or ask your immigration attorney to report it themselves or in the name of their law firm or agency.

Search Terms

It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.

The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

Belgian Chocolate
September 27, 2019
RE: 'Dark chocolate is superior to milk chocolate.' Not sure what that has to do with immigration... However, I think Belgian Chocolate is best!
September 27, 2019
The author of this article should explain what 'notario(s)' is right off the bat. Not everyone can speak Spanish and not everyone has the time to search out the definition.
FTC Staff
September 27, 2019

In reply to by Honor

The word "notarios" is higlighted in the blog so you can click on it and  connect to the brochure, which says a notario, notario público, or notary public isn’t an attorney and can’t give you legal advice.