Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman is working to reach immigrant populations targeted in extortion scams.
The scammers promise to help immigrants navigate the path to citizenship and demand high fees for what they promise will be an expedited process. Though a 2016 law made it illegal for unlicensed consultants to charge for this service, the practice is still happening. However, there has been no uptick in the crime being reported.
Coffman said victims are often taken advantage of by trusted community members and don’t report the crime because of their undocumented status.
“When someone says ‘Hey we can help you with this,’ someone who speaks their language particularly, it’s easy for these folks to fall victim to that and pay a significant amount of money for something that they desperately want and aren't comfortable trying to get on their own,” said Coffman.
By partnering with local social workers and religious groups, Coffman hopes to spread the word about the phoney consultants, as well as another scam in which individuals are “sold” appointment times at the DMV, even though appointments are free. Coffman is also launching a series of training sessions regarding immigrant rights throughout the state.