FTC Releases Spanish-Language Graphic Novel to Warn of Notario Scams

FTC Releases Spanish-Language Graphic Novel to Warn of Notario Scams
Image: Pixabay
June 15, 2015

In the newest issue of its fotonovela series the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is trying to raise awareness of immigration scams.

The graphic novel focuses on notario scams, which have become increasingly popular as criminals pose as officials with legal expertise and promise immigrants with a path to citizenship.

The Spanish-language graphic novel, Cómo se enteraron Myriam y Pedro de las estafas de notario describes the warning signs of a notario scam, where to find help with the immigration process, and how to report scams to the FTC.

While notario publico in Spanish is translated in English to notary public, the two titles mean vastly different things. In North Carolina, and other states around the country, notary publics do not have the legal authority to practice law unless they also have a license allowing them to do so.

In Latin America and many European countries, notaries public are also authorized to practice law and are authorized to represent others before the government.

Scammers use this often unknown difference to prey on recent immigrants by advertising as a notario that provides immigration services.

"In many cases the work performed by such individuals results in missed deadlines, the filing of incorrect or incomplete forms, or the filing of false claims with the government," writes the American Bar Association on its website. "As a result of the advice or actions of such individuals an immigrant can miss opportunities to obtain legal residency, can be unnecessarily deported, or can be subject to civil and/or criminal liability for the filing of false claims."

Previous fotonovela issues focused on debt collectors, government imposters and income scams.

If you or someone you know has seen an immigration scam or been the victim of one, report it to the FTC.